Monday, 26 September 2011

travels with a laptop redux

Note taking on my recent conference trip wasn't all as hi-tech as I may have seemed to suggest in my previous post. On day two of the conference I ran very low on battery and my laptop shut down on me forcing me to the old fashioned pen and paper note taking

I then typed the notes in a structured and coherent manner into evernote

And the notes actually look better, are more coherent, and it took no longer that the 45 minutes I usually spend editing my notes.

So, while evernote is a great tool, I've come round to the idea that note taking on paper and writing the notes up afterwards - the discipline is to do this consistently and structure the notes sensibly.

So I think my conference workshop/toolkit looks like this:

  • netbook + psu + mouse
  • small digital camera + transfer cable
  • android tablet computer
  • cool-er e-reader
  • cable to charge tablet from netbook
  • ditto for e-reader
  • australian power board, and plug adapters as required
  • 2m ethernet cable (hotel cables are always too short, knackered or both)
  • headset for skype
  • go-sim phone to minimize roaming charges on these occasions when you want to call someone but can't access skype (airports for example)
  • decent hardback notebook and pens
the e-reader stays on the list due to its excellent battery life (and being small and light it's ideal for sticking in an airplane seat pocket) The zPad's there really as an experiment, I'm actually not sure just how useful it would be in practice until I try it seriously. Making sure all the devices you lug about charge via usb saves carrying the psu's with you.

Taking an ethernet cable with you is essential - it's surprising how many hotels only provide a wired service. Unfortunately the ethernet cables provided for loan have usually had a hard life and have been twisted and bent in unfortunate ways and have broken clips.

As for power adapters, I havn't yet  found a universal power power adapter ( the ones with multiple prongs or ends) that actually accepts an Australian plug reliably and will at the same time plug into a Dutch or German Schuko plug receptacle - most of the cheaper ones don't deal with the Australian thin angled prongs properly or are intended to plug into a flush two pin power socket as opposed to a recessed one.

The only other problem I had was not having a US phone number in the states - possibly the answer would to get one of these dual sim phones an a cheap payg sim which you chuck  away when you get home. That way you could make local calls and still be able to use the go-sim sim for international calls ...

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