Category Archives: Electric Car Challenge

Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme – The perfect laptop for any road trip #gadgetroadtrip

Before departing on our electric road trip in the Tesla Model S in October, we were kindly lent lots of kit to make the journey easier and more tech-packed.

Of all the tech we used and tested on our trip, one of the most useful was the Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme, a gadget perfectly suited for the journey to Scotland and back.

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged
Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme at Leicester Services.

As the name suggests, this is a Rugged laptop specifically designed to withstand some pretty extreme conditions. It is aimed at people who need to be working out in the field in all kinds of weather conditions. Perfectly suited for the west of Scotland then!

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged
The Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme comes with Resistive Touch Screen and Stylus fir ease of use in wet conditions.

The Latitude 14 Rugged was to be the central hub of our video and blogging management, allowing us to edit video whenever the chance presented itself and manage blogs and social media in a full screen environment. Video was edited using Adobe Premiere Pro CC and uploaded over EE’s 4g network.

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged
Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme Designed for ‘in the field’ use.

As laptops go, this is a seriously luggable device, it’s bulky and heavy to the point that it has an integrated carry handle. The bulk and weight are due to it’s armour added to protect it from fairly substantial drops and providing it will water resistance.

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged
All I/O ports are rubber sealed.

Each of the myriad of i/o ports are rubber-sealed to protect them and it’s touch screen is resistive rather than the market standard ‘capacitive’ touch in order for it be used in wet conditions and dell have even provided an inbuilt stylus to aid use of it in cold conditions where you wouldn’t want to expose your fingers to the elements.

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged
Integrated finger print reader is included.

The model we tested was packed with hardware features including a Intel Core i5-6300U Processor (Dual Core, 3M Cache, 2.40 GHz), 8GB 2133MHz DDR4 Memory, 128GB Solid State Drive, Intel Integrated HD Graphics 520, Intel Dual Band Wireless 8260 (802.11ac) with Bluetooth, Dell Wireless Qualcomm Gobi 4G LTE (DW5809E for Win8/Win10), 35.6cm (14.0″) HD (1366×768) Touch Display with Microphone Camera with Privacy Shutter all powered from E5 90W AC Adapter.

The Dell Latitude 14 Rugged
The Dell provided excellent battery performance during our trip and we ensured we topped up overnight where possible.

The processor, memory and solid state drive all helped to run Windows 10 Professional with ease. I was able to happily edit 4K video footage in Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2018 and upload these files with a EE 4G data Sim card. Everything was taken care of without having to mess around with secondary devices to connect to the internet. In retrospect, we could have employed the Latitude as a virtual studio for our video broadcasting, but time constraints simply didn’t give us the time to set this up.

All in all this was a seriously impressive device, although this is in no way a practical machine for use in an office,  but when used for it’s intended purpose in extreme weather conditions and less that welcoming environments, it simply excels with a feature packed all in one solution with water resistance and extreme durability.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that these features come at a premium, the Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme is priced around the £2900 mark.

Matt Porter
The Gadget Man

 

 

We’ve donated to British Red Cross

Red Cross Donation
Red Cross Donation

A little over a month has passed since we arrived back from the Scotland and as promised, we have donated the remains of our Gadget Road Trip fund to British Red Cross.

This afternoon, I transferred the remaining balance of £42.32 from our Monzo Card to the British Red Cross charity and thus rendered the account empty.

I was personally extremely upset by the Grenfell Tower disaster earlier this year, which I know also affected Paul. The British Red Cross were on the ground there immediately after it happened and provided much need assistance to the poor families that had lost their loved ones, their homes and everything they owned in a matter of minutes. It is because of this, that I wanted to donate to this charity. Since Grenfell, other disasters have continued to affect the people of our planet and the British Red Cross have continued to provide much needed support for these people who have lost absolutely everything they own and still lack the basics of clean water, electricity and food. If you would like to continue to help them, you can also donate via this link

Thank you so much again to the following people and organisations for their kind donations of funds or services!

XSItems Ltd
ACPlus
Favorite Fried Chicken
Free Reign Internet
Coderus
Gavin Dadd
Patrick Lohan
Jackie Robinson
Ian Brown
Olive Porter
Sandra Grilli
Callum McGilvery.

We wouldn’t have been able to feed ourselves during the trip and have something soft to sleep on. Thank you again.

Thanks also to Hillcroft Park in Ullswater for allowing us to stay at their lodgings for two nights (They will be featuring in the upcoming sitcom ‘Home from Home’ with Johnny Vegas, so keep an eye out!) and Far View Bed & Breakfast in Kilchoan (I won’t forget little Gracie exclaiming “My wellington boots fell over!!” as I took her and her dad on a little test drive).

 

 

1257 Miles in an Electric Car – Part 1 – A Plan is Hatched.

Holzhausen’s drawings of the Model S
Holzhausen’s original drawings of the Model S

10th July 2017

I was sitting in my office in Martlesham on the 10th July 2017 chatting to a colleague about Tesla cars. The conversation had started after he noticed the framed artists sketch hanging on my wall.

I have driven a number of Tesla Model S cars in the past from the excitable P85+ to the ‘Insane’ P85D. They are very exciting cars to drive, not just because they are fully electric and pack extremely powerful single gear motors, but because you feel your are riding on the coattails of automotive history, participating in an irreversible shift change in motorvehicle technology. It’s very exciting!

The conversation moved on the the Model X and Model 3, Tesla’s entries in to the SUV and ‘affordable’ markets. The Model X has recently appeared in the UK, the Model 3 is two years away from being available. We continued to chat for the rest of lunch, but the seed was planted.

That evening I wrote an email to Tesla’s press office requesting the loan of a Model X for review. Nothing specific, simply available dates.

The next day I received a reply from Tesla, it’s explained that things were very busy with the Model X, but the 5th and 6th of October was available for a test drive, did that suit? I puzzled for a while, in the past I had been loaned vehicles for a little longer, to give me time to get to know the vehicle, two days seemed a bit short to get a proper review in place. So, I followed up with an email, requesting a little longer.

I quickly received a reply from Tesla asking what my plans were? OK, good question, time to put on my thinking cap.

15 July 2017

My initial idea was driving from Lands End to John O’Groats, but after a little bit of Googling, I discovered that this had already been done in a  Tesla and well documented on YouTube, there was nothing original to achieve in travelling down this this ‘road’.

But wait a minute! Was there? I live about 40 minutes from Ness Point, the most easterly point in the UK. Nestled in Lowestoft, Ness Point at first glance seemed a little unloved. Some thought and effort has been made to build a stone circle, with plaques showing distances to well known points in the UK. It’s quite nice, but the surroundings aren’t that impressive, but it seemed like the obvious starting point for a challenge and wasn’t too far from home.

Now to find the most westerly point of the UK.

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse sits on the most westerly mainland point of the UK accessible by a short ferry ride at Corran and a two hour drive along single track roads across an extinct volcano. There even appeared to be a ‘rapid’ charge point a few miles away at Kichoan Pier, which would set a challenge outside of Tesla’s ‘Supercharger’ network.

The plan was hatched, but it was just the beginning.

Matt Porter
The Gadget Man

The Gadget Man – Episode 105 – On the Sofa with Sarah Lilley at BBC Radio Suffolk

As I continue to ride the wave of euphoria of completing the 1200 mile east to west  Gadget Road Trip with my lifelong friend Andy. Today I joined BBC Radio Suffolk’s Sarah Lilley on the Sofa in Ipswich and explained how the challenge came about and how it felt to drive 1200 miles in an Electric Car and why I love Gadgets!

I also talked about how I met Vanessa, how I listen to music and an ill fated trip to Tunisia in 1996.

Listen in to the stream, bookmark the site, we have a LOAD of reviews coming up over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

10 Days to Go!! Important Update! – Tesla Road Trip 2017

With 10 days to go, I was hoping it would be a matter of tying up some loose ends and some additional organisation in the lead up to the challenge…

Sadly at the end of last week, my very dear Uncle, John Porter passed away. Dad, his brother understandably wants to be at home with the family at this time, so he had to make the difficult decision to withdraw from our challenge. Due to the commitments I have already made with a whole host of people over the last couple of months, I will still be embarking on the 1200 miles electric journey.

I won’t be doing it alone though. My new co-driver will be announced this Friday, so stay tuned!!

Drones, Cameras and Dash Cams

DJI Mavic Pro
DJI Mavic Pro

Today was quite exciting with the arrival of a DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Osmo+. The Mavic is a 4K foldable drone and the Osmo is a stabilised 3.5x zoom camera. Transcend have also committed to sending a dash cam for the trip which should enable us to record both road and cockpit footage. We are also currently waiting for a Dell ‘ruggedised’ laptop which will be invaluable for the trip especially producing 4k footage from the camera and drones. This will hopefully give me sufficient time to familiarise myself with the equipment and weather permitting (22 mph wind and no rain) I should be able to obtain some stunning footage from Ullswater, Glencoe and Ardnamurchan. Fingers crossed (and crossed again). The DJI Osmo_ is a 3 axis stabilised camera when means I can stagger around uncontrollably and get some excellent footage without worrying about the wind.

The saga of the air beds.

We were unable to find a specific donor for the air beds that are needed for the Camping Pod in Ullswater on Friday and Sunday. This was after contacting practically every single large camping equipment supplier in the UK. Most didn’t reply and unfortunately those that did were unable to provide additional donations above their current budgets.

It was however ‘lucky’ or more likely a result of the multiple cookies on my computer set when I was searching for air beds, that a Groupon deal dropped into my Inbox on Wednesday.

DJI Osmo+
DJI Osmo+

Thus, I was able to purchase two double sized air beds ‘high raised’ with built in pumps for just under £80 meaning that both of us will sleep soundly. We will be taking along sheets, quilts and pillows, so we should feel right at home. I have already tested the inflation and deflation of one of the beds and was surprised at how quickly it inflated, but equally how quickly is deflated in ‘reverse’. It was easy to re-pack and fitted nicely into the included carry bag. Sorted.

Further Support and Sponsorship

I had a long conference call yesterday with a very large potential sponsor/partner. We discussed a whole host of possibilities that will help me and Dad on the trip (particularly on the comms front). Hopefully I will be able to announce something next week when I receive confirmation!

 

Computers, Phones and Tablets

Dell Latitude 14 7404 Rugged
Dell Latitude 14 7404 Rugged

Having just had my trusty (and smashed) Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge replaced with a brand spanking model, I am now pretty confident I don’t need to be panicking about a super up to date phone for the trip. It has an excellent camera on board and stunning screen. Tablet wise, I have a nVidia Shield K1 for ‘droning’, this extremely fast processor on board and should do nicely for the trip.

I am really, REALLY hopeful that we will receive a 360 camera and a SIM card with a hefty amount of data onboard to enable us where possible to live stream the event as best we can.

Accommodation

We are staying at Hillcroft Park in Ullswater on Friday and Sunday, courtesy of the site owners, which is very generous of them. On Saturday we are staying at Far View in Kilchoan about 8 miles from Ardnamurchan Lighthouse.

That’s for this update, but stay tuned this Friday to find out who will be joining me on our ELECTRIC ADVENTURE!

Source: 10 Days to Go!! Important Update! – Tesla Road Trip 2017