I’ve become quite a fan of Gmail this year and here’s why. With relatively little effort and with reasonably inexpensive equipment, anyone can have access to their email from just about anywhere, get world class spam filtering, and enjoy better search capabilities than most corporate email systems.
I’m still tethered to a work email system (Lotus Notes of all things), but for the rest of my life I find Gmail an amazing addition to the kit. Polling multiple POP3 accounts, filtering mountains of e-mail into manageable piles, and giving me access to my messages anywhere I go means I get out of my office more and more.
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Since this blog is presumably about a digital lifestyle, it’s probably worth a few paragraphs to describe what I’ll call my ‘flight kit.’ I’m not a true road warrior, just an average Joe that flies for business and pleasure a few times a year. I drafted this post on my Windows Mobile phone on a flight back from Los Angeles last week, transferred it to my laptop and fleshed it out a bit. Today I found a nice article at CareerJournal.com talking about the adoption of this type of technology.
- Notebook Computer – I’m currently running a middle of the road Thinkpad that serves as a good general computing platform and also does a nice job with DVDs.
- Microsoft Wireless USB mouse – While I’m comfortable with the Trackpoint on the Thinkpad, for any prolonged work, I need a free standing mouse. I like the wireless kind if for no other reason than it eliminates another cable from my bag.
- Kensington Universal Car/Air Power Adapter – I don’t often have the need to use this in an auto, but you’ll be kicking yourself if your batteries low and you’re making final changes to a presentation while your colleague drives to the customer presentation. On some international flights, this also gives me half a chance at productivity on those long flights. Without it, I’d have to carry more batteries or just stare at the in-flight movie.
- 512MB flash drive – I know, it’s kind of small for these days, but it handles most business related file swaps.
- Laptop security cable like this one here!! – I can’t say enough about this item and I recommend anyone that travels with a laptop get one. They aren’t fool-proof as a determined thief can break your case and make off with your laptop, but it will stop a less determined ‘thief of opportunity’ from walking off with your notebook out of your hotel room when the maid’s not looking. For $10-15, it’s cheap insurance and makes me feel better.
- Ethernet cable – This is becoming less necessary these days depending on where you travel, but I still run into customer/vendor conference rooms with no wireless access or just a few Ethernet ports. I sometimes throw a 6 or 8 port hub in my bag as well if I know the facility and expect multiple laptop users to be working at the same time.
- Aiwa HP-CN6 Noise canceling headphones (for laptop and mp3 player) – I picked these up a few years ago before a trip to London and never regretted the purchase. While other manufacturers make sets that sell for 3-4 times as much, this Aiwa set went for $30 at the local big box retailer and while canceling cabin noise (and gate noise while waiting to board), they also allow you listen to mp3, laptops, in-flight music without having to blast the volume.
- Zen Nano Plus MP3 player w/ Sony sports headset (yes that’s #2)
- 1-2 AA and 1-2 AAA rechargeable batteries
- Sprint PPC6700 – Windows Mobile 5.0 phone with capability of serving as wireless modem (car charger and room charger)
- Motorola Bluetooth headset (#3 for the headset counters / wired headset for phone (yes! #4)
- Various power, charging, and USB cables for connecting items – most bound together with little velco ties I buy HERE (link) – recently discovered my cell phone will recharge using the USB port on my laptop – great!!!!!
The rest of my kit isn’t particularly digital or unexpected (magazines, paper, pens, snacks), but the list above allows me to work just about anywhere I can get power and wireless access.
In my excitement over streaming video to my mobile phone from my home PC, I recently asked Where’s my flying car? While I’d like to think someone was listening, chalk one up for coincidence as Business Week recently published survey of flying car developments. There’s nothing terribly practical or available soon, but I guess I got my answer.
It’s required. Really, I had to do it.
With a few minutes of idle time, a PPC-6700, and a copy of Visual Studio .NET, here’s what you get.
Anyone that has taken even a passing interest in programming will recognize it for what it is and what it isn’t (useful, interesting, exciting).
But as I said, it’s required and at least it was a quick way to get used to the build and install process for PocketPC applications. I’d like to think it’s the start of a grand development project, but grand development projects take ideas and a little more familiarity with the platform. I have a few ideas, but will need to take a few weeks to learn what I can and can’t do with a PocketPC and VS.