Smart Technology

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 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.

Brain Rain

James reminds me of a great point often forgotten in his post Warm, Partly Cloudy, 100% Chance of Brain Rain. Sure, I set aside time every day to plan my days activities, but I haven’t been setting aside time to brainstorm.

  • set aside 10 minutes, each and every day
  • have pen and paper handy
  • allow yourself the freedom to think crazy thoughts
  • don’t worry if nothing really productive springs to mind right away
  • periodically scan over your notes from these sessions as things may pop into your mind after they have “marinated� for a while
  • if no ideas pop into your head pick a fun topic and doodle a bit
  • use word association to get things rolling if you feel stuck e.g. thinking -> thoughts -> mind -> brainstorm -> brain rain

With the ability to voice record on phones, mp3 players today you won’t even need to bother with that pen and paper part at all!