Time for Mobile Tech Manor column number 94, where I get to share the past week in MTM with you. I wasn’t in the Manor for much of the week due to a trip to Orlando. No, I didn’t get to go to Disney World, as I haven’t won any major sports championship. Instead I went to a tech conference hosted by the folks at Freescale who make chips for a bunch of gear. I carried my office in a bag to Orlando, and was thoroughly impressed at the lack of compromise in my work routine that resulted given the great gear I brought with me. Come on in and lets chat.
The trip to Orlando was a productive one due to the contents in the gear bag. I decided to travel lean and mean so the bag was light as I only brought three pieces of kit with me. The 13-inch MacBook (not the Pro but the aluminum predecessor) traveled with me along with a second battery for extended time away from a power outlet. That second battery came in handy as I did drain the primary battery twice. I never carry the power adapter out of the room on trips to keep the walkabout kit light, and the two batteries did the job.
The iPad came along given its thin and light form, as the multiple uses it provided were worth the small space it took in the bag. I used the iPad constantly on this trip — my first since the arrival of the Wi-Fi iPad — as it is so easy to slip it out of the bag pocket and get something done quickly. It was a true workhorse walking around this big conference. In the hotel room it became a second monitor for the MacBook, transforming my office setup into a full multiple display work system. This was accomplished using Air Display, one of the most useful apps I own.
In my shirt pocket rode the HTC EVO 4G, which functioned as my phone and a mobile hotspot on many occasions. The conference area had good Wi-Fi available, but the hotel itself charged for it everywhere. Unfortunately Sprint has no 4G coverage in Orlando, but the EVO dished out 3G through the mobile hotspot feature with ease. I simply tapped the hotspot toggle switch and in less than 10 seconds I was enjoying tasty 3G on either the MacBook or the iPad (or both). The Sprint 3G network had full bars in the hotel and was plenty fast enough to make me productive.
My reason for attending the conference was to sit on a panel discussing the future of mobile gear aimed at the consumer. It was a good panel and I enjoyed meeting the other two panelists– Matt Burns of CrunchGear and Hubert Nguyen of uberGizmo. They are good guys who are good at what they do and it was great to spend time with them both. Matt was using a review EVO at the conference and Hubert had used one in the past so all three of us were familiar with the phone. Interestingly, neither Hubert nor I have trouble with the EVO’s battery life, while Matt complained about it. He ended up admitting he was considering buying an EVO, so perhaps his experience wasn’t all that bad.
I found I used the EVO heavily during the conference. It was my primary email machine given the push Gmail. I also used Twicca for keeping up with Twitter the whole time. The MacBook was the main writing machine, while the iPad and EVO handled keeping up with the world around me on the run. This system worked flawlessly, and I came away duly impressed with all pieces of my kit.
Most of the attendees at this conference were technical folks, and I was surprised I saw very few Macs in evidence. I must have seen hundreds of Dells, HPs and ThinkPads, but only a handful of Macs the entire time. Matt and I had a chuckle as we repeatedly saw attendees racing down the conference hallways, laptop in one hand and power adapter in the other, as they went from one event to the next.
The trip was a good one, and once again proved to me how important having the right gear can be to how successful a trip turns out to be. I had absolutely no compromises in my work given this gear, in fact I didn’t have to stop and think about the tools even once. That is the mark of a great kit, and it proved to me once again that I can work anywhere without regrets, as long as I have connectivity and the right gear.
e-Book of the Week
This week I am reading City of Fear by David Hewson, the latest in the great Nic Costa series. David mixes history with the present in the way only he can do, and the story is great. I am reading the book using the Kobo app on both the iPad and the EVO, and it’s great being able to bounce back and forth between them as needed. I do find the Kobo app on Android to be lacking in features, and while it will sync with my online library it is not syncing my bookmarks. This forces me to manually find the current reading position on the EVO, a royal pain. I hope they update the app soon. The online help files state the Android app will do such syncing, so it appears they simply haven’t gotten around to including the ability yet.
That’s the week as it went down, and the trip proved that Mobile Tech Manor is actually the gear in the bag and not the physical office. It’s great to be able to work wherever events take me, and it was a good experience. Thanks for sharing it with me, and until next week, take care of yourself.
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Are You Empowering Your Mobile Work Force?