Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My first days of traveling light

Those of you who follow me on ye olde Twitter know that I'm in an experiment of sorts during my current business trip to The Netherlands, Germany, and France. Today is the first day of Photokina, the biggest photo-products trade show in the world, but that's for another post. This post if about how a frequent traveller like me is managing in an all-mobile-device scenario.

My trusty MacBookPro is idling happily in my Seattle office. In my bag of tricks are: iPhone 4 with iOS 4.1, iPad (desperately waiting for sw upgrade to get to par with iPhone) with LogMeIn sw, small charging devices (no heavy converter, something I didn't think about when shedding pounds), Apple bluetooth keyboard (a very happy discovery, easily packable and creates a whole new level of experience with pared wtih my non-apple case/easel), and Kensington power pack.

The first thing I noticed when packing is that I have a whole bunch of room in my backpack. A good thing because I'll be in four cities in five days so I'm a carry-on-bag road warrior. My unofficial professor of historical fiction novels has given me an assignment of a 600-page book, which fits nicely next to my Bose noise-reduction headphones in the space a power converter usually lives. On the plane from Seattle to Amsterdam, I really realized just how much better my iPad screen is over anything an airline can offer. So I got caught up on Meet The Press before my obligatory Ambien nap.

Once in Europe I was happy to find that more and more town centers now have free wifi. So I found a great outdoor cafe in Eindhoven, ordered up some food and coffee (these Dutch folks put Seattlites to shame with how much caffeine they consume) and was able to get caught up on my Instapaper reading along with making progress on my book. Another shout out to Europeans who know now to spend a Sunday. I had a prime spot in the Square and I was never rushed to move along. Along with train travel, Europeans are so much more civilized than Americans in this manner.

Later my first evening the first mini-crisis occurred. I had made a video (with my iPhone 4 of course, extraordinary) of a piece of printing equipment that I wanted to share with my collegues on Monday morning. For some reason it did not sync with my iPad so I was sunk. But not so! A quick fire up of LogMeIn and within seconds I'm controlling my desktop in Seattle. A simple drop into Dropbox and I had my movie. My first feeling that "hey, this could work!"

Train from Eindhoven to Cologne. Many trains in Europe have WiFi but not the case with ICE. So I'm back to managing my meager 50MB data allotment on my iPhone for the 3-hour trip. I had dumped all of my email onto my iPad so non-critical emails easily managed with my trusty B/T keyboard. By the way, the Europeans really like my iPad but they LOVE my keyboard.

Check into hotel and next probem occurs, the first failure on my part. The wireless coverage in my room is non-existent. They of course have ethernet but, alas, I have only an iPhone and iPad. Note to self--get a mini hot spot to add to my bag. Has to be light though or it doesn't pass the test. It will fit right in the space along with a reasonably-sized book (got that, LZ?). Fortunately the hotel has screaming fast wireless in the lobby, which is where I am now happily typing away and readying for the opening of Photokina. Time for the real work to begin! More on my traveling light series at a later date.

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