I tell everyone I used to hate traveling for work. That is partially true. In the end I dreaded the trips, the waits in the airport, getting lost in po-dunk towns in rental cars, etc. In the beginning I loved traveling. I think I did too much too quick. Also I did this during a period of the worst air traffic delays in the history of US air travel. I also flew out of the most delayed airport in the US. An airport that the FAA said accounted for 25-30% of all delays at the time, Laguardia airport (LGA).
This entry is not about my love or dislike of travel, that I can save for many entries later. What I am thinking about is the cool technology you can use or rely on when traveling.
Studies are coming out now saying more and more people are “cutting the cord” or becoming wireless phone only households. I have been using my cell as my primary (or only) home phone since 1998. Earlier than that I lived at home with my parents and they did have an extra line, even though I never used it.
When traveling you can use the coolest tools that keep you in touch or working. The stuff out now is even better than what I was able to use when I traveled regularly 3 years ago. Wow, it has been 3 years since I did that.
When I was on the road I relied on a laptop (Compaq Presario 1875 or something with an AMD K6-2 180mhz processor, then a number of Micron 15″ TFT laptops, and eventually a Dell latitude CPx). The laptops I have now kick the ass of the ones I had then. My thinkpad T-40 I use for work is literally half the thickness of the micron’s I used and 3-4 times more powerful. The battery lasts like 4 hours. If I got 90 minutes on the micron or 60+ on the Compaq I was happy. Even my tiny Powerbook gets better battery life than the old desktop replacements.
My cell phone back then was several flavors of the Nokia 6160, Motorola Timeport, or later on a Nokia 8890. The service actually was as good as it is now. T-Mobile’s coverage has gotten better, but I used to go everywhere with my AT&T Tri-mode TDMA Nokia’s. The phone was big but worked all over. From Canada, to Portland Oregon, to Portland Maine. The difference is I am paying about half the price I paid back in 1999 for about the same amount of minutes or even more minutes now.
The other difference with cell phones are that my Treo 600 is a handheld and a phone. I also get wireless internet access on it. For me between 1998 and 2001 that was impossible for me. now I can get email on my phone or use another phone with bluetooth to get mail on my laptop. I didn’t even have a blackberry then. I would have killed for a blackberry when I traveled. I take it for granted now.
The WiFi hotspots would be awesome to have had when I traveled. I used to use Laptop Lane at some airports back then, but they weren’t everywhere.
VPN software and Exchange 2003 with RDP over HTTPS would have been awesome. Either would have been awesome. At Datastream we had to use outlook from outside the firewall using AT&T Global net dial up. It was so slow. Now it would be trivial and fast to use, especially with high speed internet in some hotels now. When I went to vegas last winter I plugged my Powerbook (then a 15″ TiPowerbook) into the network jack in the hotel and I was able to VPN back to work. It came in handy when Keith needed something when I was out. That is the coolness I am talking about. Technology that just works when you are on the road.
If I was still traveling I would probably look at the bluetooth GPS receivers they have out now. Connect it to my iPack 1945 and know where I am. It would be killer.
What is also funny is that more and more people are using gadgets on the road. Besides the pain in the ass people on cell phones everywhere (writing this as someone’s phone goes off on the train). I mean laptops PDA’s, and other neat stuff. Around me right now on the train is 4 ladies with huge laptops doing work. One has to be my mom’s age. 4 years ago that wouldn’t be going on. When I am on the train to kingston I always see several people with blackberry’s or Pocket PC’s & Palms of several varieties. Then there are the iPods. They are everywhere. Note to self need new iPod for train trips like this. must replace sold one ASAP.
I just find these observations amusing. Why, because all this stuff that I see I have been doing for years. That is no big deal, but I always used to get made fun of by some of my friends about doing it. Then like clock work 6 months later they would be doing the same thing. I don’t consider myself a trendsetter but some technology stuff I get right away because I think it will work for me. I was that way with the first bluetooth phones. I got it and used it to connect to my PC and use a bluetooth headset. Turns out that it didn’t work very well, but it worked and I used it for months.
Enough of my observations. I am off to stretch my legs on the train for a while and maybe take some pictures with my Treo and post them to my MoBlog!!!