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dingus


Feb 15, 2006, 9:01 AM
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Another example to consider:

When I go climbing to say a Sierra route, perhaps a trailhead on the eastside south of Yosemite, I have grown accustomed to having a forced change of plans... weather, crowded trailheads, closed roads, what have you.

Larnt the hard way... if I'm headed out to drive a couple of hundred miles to bag a route, I am going to take alternate gear 'just in case.' So that trip into the Palisades morphs into 3 days in Owens Gorge bright sunshine as an early season storm pounds the crest.

So when packing I take a guidebook for each area I'll be near or pass through on the way, Yosemite, the Meadows, Owens, East Side, Secor, Moniyer, etc. I'll also take different maps, perhaps skis, perhaps perhaps perhaps.

Doing all that with some e-book bullshit... dashing off to Kinkos to print off a few pages may be all well and good for an urban sport climbing venue, but it is beyond useless for practical use in this sort of scenario.

It is nothing for me to depart home with 6 or 7 guidebooks in the car, representing thousands of potential climbs. And all I have to do is toss the appropriate book in the pack and I'm good to go, no subscription rates, no worries about a T1 connection, no uber-reliance on technology. Chouinard would be proud.

DMT


dingus


Feb 15, 2006, 9:07 AM
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Yes, the prospect of walking around with 50 or 60 pages of loose leaf print, shuffling through them on a windy day and what have you, oh, the joy!

wow, either you cover alot of ground in one day (50-60 pages worth) or you have missed the obvious concept of taking only what you need.

Whatever.

DMT


clayman


Feb 15, 2006, 9:18 AM
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I thought this would have already happened to textbooks by now, but kids are still lugging around backpacks full of books instead of a reader and some CDs.

this is because the contrast ratio for text/background on a computer is still very small compared to print, hence it makes your eyes tired quickly. It would help if more people would use white fonts and black backgrounds though.


mtntran


Feb 15, 2006, 9:30 AM
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Goggle Earth with routes info in an IPod on steroid....I'll be the first in line.


clayman


Feb 15, 2006, 9:31 AM
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Another example to consider:

When I go climbing to say a Sierra route, perhaps a trailhead on the eastside south of Yosemite, I have grown accustomed to having a forced change of plans... weather, crowded trailheads, closed roads, what have you.

Larnt the hard way... if I'm headed out to drive a couple of hundred miles to bag a route, I am going to take alternate gear 'just in case.' So that trip into the Palisades morphs into 3 days in Owens Gorge bright sunshine as an early season storm pounds the crest.

So when packing I take a guidebook for each area I'll be near or pass through on the way, Yosemite, the Meadows, Owens, East Side, Secor, Moniyer, etc. I'll also take different maps, perhaps skis, perhaps perhaps perhaps.

Doing all that with some e-book s---... dashing off to Kinkos to print off a few pages may be all well and good for an urban sport climbing venue, but it is beyond useless for practical use in this sort of scenario.

It is nothing for me to depart home with 6 or 7 guidebooks in the car, representing thousands of potential climbs. And all I have to do is toss the appropriate book in the pack and I'm good to go, no subscription rates, no worries about a T1 connection, no uber-reliance on technology. Chouinard would be proud.

DMT

why print? If you had your guidebooks as digital files then, before you left home, you download your 6-7 "e-guides" to your Nano or whatever and there you go. You're not reading a novel here, you just need to spend a few minutes looking at the route description and accompanying map or topo (if there is one), so power isn't a problem unless you're out for weeks. No more reliance here then on a book, no T1 no subscription. Also, where a book can get wet and turn into mush, your Nano could have a weather proof cover. One issue could be screen size though. Trying to pinpoint some rock feature on a tiny little screen could be frustrating.


dingus


Feb 15, 2006, 9:41 AM
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why print? If you had your guidebooks as digital files then, before you left home, you download your 6-7 "e-guides" to your Nano or whatever and there you go. You're not reading a novel here, you just need to spend a few minutes looking at the route description and accompanying map or topo (if there is one), so power isn't a problem unless you're out for weeks. No more reliance here then on a book, no T1 no subscription. Also, where a book can get wet and turn into mush, your Nano could have a weather proof cover. One issue could be screen size though. Trying to pinpoint some rock feature on a tiny little screen could be frustrating.

I can't believe you're actually trying to sell me on this concept! I appreciate the effort.

But I guess we aren't climbing the same sort of routes, and we aren't trying to cover as many bases. I own over 40 guidebooks. I don't always know what I want to climb, much less what lurks in the dark recesses of my partner. The ability to 'thumb' a guidebook is sorely underrated here.

My scenario of having to fall back, regroup and climb something else... it isn't like this objective was preordained. We decide when we decide.

"He Ding, let's go to the Valley tomorrow."

"Cool! Whaddaya wanna climb?"

"Dunno. We'll figure it out when we get there."

Sitting at the pullout for the first good view of the Valley, down below the road's edge, quaffing a bowl and thumbing a well worn guidebook looking for today's inspiration?

Like I said, you can have my guidebooks when you pry them from my cold dead fingers (which may be a lot sooner than I think, to borrow a Whillans).

Thumbing an e-guide in the bright sun? Give me a break.

DMT


clayman


Feb 15, 2006, 9:52 AM
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But I guess we aren't climbing the same sort of routes, and we aren't trying to cover as many bases. I own over 40 guidebooks. I don't always know what I want to climb, much less what lurks in the dark recesses of my partner. The ability to 'thumb' a guidebook is sorely underrated here.
DMT

You're probable right, I've got some uncovered bases for sure.
Sounds like you're a vinyl type of guy. I can relate to that.


clayman


Feb 15, 2006, 9:57 AM
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dbl post


dingus


Feb 15, 2006, 10:08 AM
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Sounds like you're a vinyl type of guy. I can relate to that.

Actually no. I'm not a luddite. I like my cell phone and I like my spliff. Laptop too! Or something like that.

I also like to have good beta, not one of those 'do it in the dark' types either.

The technology to replace guidebooks isn't available yet. And technology for technology's sake alone? Not interested. Nothing you have suggested replaces the way I use printed guidebooks.

When we get to virtual displays, either HUD or some sort of 'neural' virtual view, by gawd then you might have something. Just plug a chip in the slot on your hip and you're wired and ready to go...

hmmm, what about viruses? I think I'll be sticking with reality for a while.

Cheers bro
DMT


atpeaceinbozeman


Feb 15, 2006, 10:11 AM
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Sitting at the pullout for the first good view of the Valley, down below the road's edge, quaffing a bowl and thumbing a well worn guidebook looking for today's inspiration?


George Gilder's essay Digital Darkhorse has similar ideas, but on why the newspaper will never die...good stuff.

Quaffing?


clayman


Feb 15, 2006, 10:16 AM
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Sounds like you're a vinyl type of guy. I can relate to that.

Actually no. I'm not a luddite. I like my cell phone and I like my spliff. Laptop too! Or something like that.

I also like to have good beta, not one of those 'do it in the dark' types either.

The technology to replace guidebooks isn't available yet. And technology for technology's sake alone? Not interested. Nothing you have suggested replaces the way I use printed guidebooks.

When we get to virtual displays, either HUD or some sort of 'neural' virtual view, by gawd then you might have something. Just plug a chip in the slot on your hip and you're wired and ready to go...

hmmm, what about viruses? I think I'll be sticking with reality for a while.

Cheers bro
DMT

not "trying" to convince you of anything "bro", just ruminating on an idea. No need to paint with such a large brush


dingus


Feb 15, 2006, 10:25 AM
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Actually I was quite "specific."

Bro.

DMT


wes_allen


Feb 15, 2006, 10:30 AM
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You all are missing what the best situation is - a printed guidebook, backed up with an online guide that is searchable and configurable. Like the new rrg guidebook and the www.redriverclimbing.com online one - they work together to give you the best of both worlds: You can search for your 10a routes that stay dry that you haven't done yet the night before, and then print a list, or use a sticky pad in your printed guidebook to take to the crag with you, come home that night, update your online tick list, then re-sort next trip. That is the future.


rockfax


Feb 15, 2006, 10:42 AM
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The future is now

http://www.rockfax.com/

Mick


joeyo


Feb 15, 2006, 11:12 AM
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I'm pretty confident that all of the technologies we need to have digital guidebooks are already here. The biggest one is digital ink technology which is basically a bunch of little charged plastic bubbles, black on one side and white on the other. These have the super-huge advantages that they only use battery power when you change pages, and that they're illuminated with whatever ambient light you have (just like the guidebook is).

The first product (that I've found) using this technology is the Sony Portable Reader System PRS-500. It's pricey and I'd expect fragile and otherwise inadequately designed, but it is the first product.

Now, you're not going to catch me using this thing as a guidebook any time soon. I love the feel of paper, the speed at which I can flip pages, the way my jtree guide conveniently stores all my little notes and scraps of paper, my tick-list (x marks the routes I've done), and any annotations (new bolts found, old bolts chopped).

I figure in a few years though... probably before I'm actually good at climbing...


-Joe


Partner csgambill


Feb 15, 2006, 11:29 AM
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So here's what needs to happen for this to become viable. First somebody needs to generate a big ass database of routes. This shouldn't be too much trouble. Then the device itself should be a gps/cell phone/pocket pc/.mp3 player that can fit in a pocket. I've got a Treo cell phone, and there's no way I'd want to look at routes on that tiny ass screen, so this new all-in-wonder device should project a hologram big enough that you can actually read, even in bright sunlight. The gps should be able to interface with the route database so you can not only look up routes based on a particular location, but also based on thier proximity to your actual present or future location. Obvioulsy it has to have some sort of sattelite connectivity to be able to acces the web from down in deep valleys. In addition, this thing has to be durable. It's got to withstand being banged around on sombody's rack, being dropped short distances or getting pissed on by a grizzly bear. Just for fun I think it should also have one of those shitty little useless bubble compasses like they put on wristwatches, like these:
http://www.selfdefensesupply.com/...images/hmv1173bk.jpg

j/k

For real though, I think a device like this could be very useful. But I also believe that paper books still have value. There's just something familliar and very comfortable about holding an actual book. I could read books on my Treo, but I prefer paper books. It's easy to take notes in them, you won't wake up a whole campsite with some giant hologram of El Cap. Although a more lascivious use for the hologram function could prove lucrative. :-) This sucker would be expensive to produce initially, lots of development costs. It's a lot cheaper to print a book.

Good luck to whoever wants to design and produce this sucker.


Now I'm running off to engineer and patent this thing. It's mine ha hahaha!


wjca


Feb 15, 2006, 12:40 PM
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My idea for the future goes a couple of steps past what has been discussed so far. I want a head's up display on a pair of sunglasses fitted with a satellite receiver. The nano-tiny GPS devise knows exactly where I am (longitude, latitude and altitude), and in real time updates the rock/mountain in front of me. When I need it, the head's up display will give the information I need, as extensive as I would like it. For instance, if I am at the base of Cannon Cliff, wanting to climb Moby Grape, I can look up at the rock and the head's up display will overlay the route on the view I have of the rock, from my then current perspective. As I move closer or am oriented to the rock differently, the GPS will automatically adjust and the view in the head's up will update. In addition, if I so desire, I can get up to the minute weather updates, call my wife and tell her I did not die and am heading back to the car, get updates on the Bear's game or listen to Howard Stern. And for an additional $99.95, I'll get the accompanying Jolly Man Pocket Pack for the happy ending I need for the porn I plan to watch while belaying.


zen_alpinist


Feb 15, 2006, 1:07 PM
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Color me old-school, but Dingus is right on.

The only practical use for hand-held electronic technology would be for users at the gym or park-n-climb (5 minute hike) sport routes. Somewhere you are easily accessible at. Close to safety measures. A place to store pack up technology (paper, batteries, etc.) for when (and it will happen) the high-technology fails you.

Wilderness trad, multi-day big walls, high alpine in harsh environments...not a place for this type of thinking. (unless you have a *LOT* of money and are on a large, funded expedition with a lot of people to carry extra/redundant high-tech gear who are not part of the climb pe se)

Example: GPS is great. What happens when your batteries run out? Are you on a fast-n-light attack climb? Are you carrying that extra weight in the form of several batteries? Rockfall smashes your unit? Extreme cold causes it to function slowly? What happens when only one person in your group is proficient in using the GPS and he/she becomes incapacitated? Have you spent countless hours (10+ every week) practicing navigation skills with a map/compass? Did you even bring along a map and compass? When conserving weight, if you always bring along a map and compass, why not just use them instead of the added weight of the GPS?

There is a reason why low-tech is best in situations where you are far removed from civilization: you are going to be surrounded by materials that need low-tech skills in order to function. When (and if you are out enough, it will happen) things go FUBAR, you need to have survival skills that do not rely on high-technology.

I have a friend who almost solely relies on GPS to roam around. I know he doesn't have basic map navigation skills...let alone the natural *intuition* that an experienced backcountry adventurer needs to develop. I can place our position well enough to know where to go, while he is still fiddling waiting for the satellites to come in.

Now imagine your guidebook was purely electronic. What happens when it goes? Were you supposed to turn right, or left at that crack in the wall? Did you memorize the route description?

I think guidebooks will evolve to allow users greater control for printing out the exact data they need, say through a database backend. Allow additional beta to added by the user and maybe globally shared among all who have the guide. In the field, though, it should be as low-tech as possible in order to eliminate another item that could go bad and lead to trouble.

/disjointed-rant (thanks for listening)

(all that aside, since there are probably a larger number of "weekend warriors"/sport climbers/etc. out there, an electronic guidebook device would probably take off and sell well, as I think those people are quick to devour that sort of technology....and there is nothing wrong with that)


markc


Feb 15, 2006, 1:18 PM
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Remember when computers were going to create the paperless office?

My guide for the NRG has had soda explode on it in the back of a friend's trunk, it's been kicked around in the dirt, dropped, etc. It's still holding up like a champ. These are all things I'd be unwilling to do to the new video iPods at $300 for the 30 Gig version. I certainly don't want to carry one up most routes. Screen size, resolution, and battery life are also large concerns.

There are a few benefits to virtual guides. An interactive guide that allows to to sort by exposure, grade, or even rack options could be very handy. The ability to update for new development or route changes without going to print is excellent. I think these are features that can enhance standard guides, but I think it's a bit too soon to shut down the presses.


tslater


Feb 15, 2006, 1:19 PM
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Dude, why don't cars fly? Everyone told me 30 years ago we'd be flying by now. What's up with that?

Then I could put my guidebook CD in my stereo and my favorite band could sing the routes to me while I fly to the next crag.


weschrist


Feb 15, 2006, 1:28 PM
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relax dingus, it isn't like we are calling for a ban on paperguide books... your rights to keep and bear books is not being threatened.

nearly every person I know who does longer climbs (III,IV,V) makes a photocopy of the route info and carries it in their pack, they are much lighter than the whole guide book and if it gets rained on no big deal. most every person who makes said copies owns a computer with a printer but not a copy machine... much easier to PRINT the topos than to go make photocopies.

it is pretty damn simple, you choose 5-10 climbs in the area that you want to tick, print them out, and toss them in your car... along with a few paper guidebooks for your low committment back-up areas (90% of which will not be used on any given trip). to say that the eguides are useless is just plain stupid.


markc


Feb 15, 2006, 1:39 PM
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This sounds like the HitchHiker's guide.

I'm glad I'm not the only one to have that thought.

So long, and thanks for all the fish,

mark


Partner robdotcalm


Feb 15, 2006, 1:55 PM
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[quote="weschrist"]Supertopo PDF guidebooks have one huge problem, you cannot do a "search" for routes, etc. They are essentially just scanned graphics and Adobe can't search for specific words in the document (at least mine are that way).

I assume your using Acrobat Reader. In full versions of Acrobat, you can search for specific words.

Cheers,
Rob.calm


weschrist


Feb 15, 2006, 2:18 PM
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No, I have the full version. The problem is that the document is NOT in text, it is essentially just a scanned image. Right, you would think they would do it in text format so you COULD search for stuff... but that isn't how they did the Red Rock guide.


Partner robdotcalm


Feb 15, 2006, 3:59 PM
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No, I have the full version. The problem is that the document is NOT in text, it is essentially just a scanned image. Right, you would think they would do it in text format so you COULD search for stuff... but that isn't how they did the Red Rock guide.

Well, a program like OmniForm or PDF3 could convert it into searchable text. Maybe they had a reason for not doing it.

Cheers,
Rob.calm

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