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20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,797
Location
Oregon Coast
Look @ Android phones, there's lots of really good ones, and not all are so expensive that they require a Second Mortgage to buy.( you don't really need all the latest Bells and Whistles on the NEW AND IMPROVED Models)

I know Apple makes good products that are highly desired, but they tend to be over priced in lots of cases.
And to pay for more 'features' than I personally would ever use. Still learning how to use it after 1 year!
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,439
Location
Austin Texas
OK... I'm gonna work on it. There's no turning back now cause it's so expensive... and of course there's a Verizon contract attached. I'm also getting accustomed to the Amtrak app... so who says 'You can't teach an old dog new tricks!"
My tech advisor, my Grandaughter, is going to teach me how to use my new phone!😄😍
 

John Santos

Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 24, 2018
Messages
209
This comment has drifted into a "smart phone to replace a wired computer" thread, so here goes.
  1. To remain initially on-topic, I have an international plan on my Verizon contract. (It is fairly cheap at $5/day and it only activates when you use the phone "outside the US". I think it only works in Canada and Mexico, and includes free roaming. It you plan to be out of the US for more than a couple of weeks, there are much better and cheaper options.) I signed up in 2018 for a two week business trip to Calgary in the dead of winter. (Train review: the local LRV was great and free and frequent for my 6-block hotel<->work commute at 20 below in constant snow.) However, in summer 2019 I neglected to disable it and woke up on the TE/SSL approaching El Paso to discover I had been dinged for a day of international calling. Apparently there is a stretch of track east of El Paso where the strongest cell signal is from a Mexican tower so it thinks you are there. Watch out! I think the same thing could happen on the EB on the coast in Washington, looking out as Vancouver Island.
  2. My iPhone, and I think most Androids and other smart phones have an ability to create a local WiFi hotspot. This lets non-cell equipped tablets and laptops work via the phone. I've used it with my iPad on many Amtrak trains, including the NEC, LSL, EB, TE, SSL and Crescent. I don't remember if I tried to use it on the CZ, CS or CL, but no reason why it shouldn't work. It also works with my laptop. It only works where there is a decent enough cell signal, and usually provides much better WiFi than Amtrak does. It does use a lot of data, but they bumped me to 5GB with some roll-over at some point and running out hasn't been an issue. If you set it up with a password, people can't steal your bandwidth. On the other hand, if you are generous, you can leave the password off and anyone can use it.
  3. I find the iPad much easier to work with than the phone. Fat fingers make typing very hard on the phone. Plus I got a Kensington Blue-Tooth wireless keyboard that makes the iPad almost as good as a regular computer for most things. About $30 on Amazon, multiple brands available.
  4. The WiFi and some apps (such as the speed-tracking App I use) drain the phone battery quickly. You'll want a multiple outlet extension cord and multiple charging cords and power warts (or better an extension cord with multiple USB ports.) Everything I have seems to use a different charging cable (phone and iPad both use the standard Apple cord, but keyboard, cameras, etc are unique.)
 

Dakota 400

Engineer
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,083
Best thing is to do some research.
Look @ Android phones, there's lots of really good ones, and not all are so expensive that they require a Second Mortgage to buy.( you don't really need all the latest Bells and Whistles on the NEW AND IMPROVED Models)
Thanks for the advice! I am in no hurry and am one who does tend to research a major purchase to death before making a buying decision. It took me months to do the research before I bought my most recent car.
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,136
Location
Denver
This comment has drifted into a "smart phone to replace a wired computer" thread, so here goes.
  1. To remain initially on-topic, I have an international plan on my Verizon contract. (It is fairly cheap at $5/day and it only activates when you use the phone "outside the US". I think it only works in Canada and Mexico, and includes free roaming. It you plan to be out of the US for more than a couple of weeks, there are much better and cheaper options.) I signed up in 2018 for a two week business trip to Calgary in the dead of winter. (Train review: the local LRV was great and free and frequent for my 6-block hotel<->work commute at 20 below in constant snow.) However, in summer 2019 I neglected to disable it and woke up on the TE/SSL approaching El Paso to discover I had been dinged for a day of international calling. Apparently there is a stretch of track east of El Paso where the strongest cell signal is from a Mexican tower so it thinks you are there. Watch out! I think the same thing could happen on the EB on the coast in Washington, looking out as Vancouver Island.
  2. ................
My friend in Ferndale, Washington (once a stop on the GN SEA<>VAC mail train) gets his cell service from BC islands. He's had a couple of rounds with customer service regarding this, but as an electrical engineer he knows it's cheaper for the carrier to charge at the US domestic rate than to provide proper coverage of his community.

Canada across the water.

_3A_0006k Ferndale beach.jpg
 
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