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Traveling Light with Technology

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I don’t travel a whole lot. Well, definitely not as much as some of you. But as I was getting ready for a trip to Chicago last week, I pondered my options for what type of technology I’d bring with me. Do I leave the laptop at home and go entirely mobile? Could I get by without a full-fledged computer with keyboard etc.? Or would I be able to do everything I needed to do with just a tablet and a smart phone? Perhaps now was the time to try a little experiment.

So, armed with only my iPhone and iPad, I trimmed the gadget fat and set off for the windy city. Though my trip was mainly about catching up with friends, I did have some work things that I knew I’d need to take care of. Dealing with my usual daily emails would be no problem, but I did have some blog posts to get out, and some social media work to do for a client. I also had a web site launching on Wednesday. In theory, anything I needed to do for these projects I could do with my mobile devices…but I wasn’t 100% certain. I decided to take a chance. After all, if I got really desperate, I’d be hanging out with a lot of geeks. Surely I could find a laptop if I absolutely needed it, right?

Well, it turned out that I WAS able to do everything I needed to do using only my iPhone and iPad. This was more a test of the limitations of the devices than anything, and of course, as with any technology, there are a few. I had to live without Flash (but I didn’t miss it one bit). Uploading images to my blog proved to be a bit of a challenge, but I made do. Not every post has to have an image. I was able to deal with the social media tasks easily and efficiently. I edited a few documents. And, thanks to my awesome business partner and our fantastic development team, the web site launch went smoothly.

What I learned from this experience is that mobile is getting there. 2 years ago – heck, 1 year ago, it’s not likely I would have felt like I had everything I needed to be able to comfortably travel without lugging a big old laptop with me. Nowadays, we can get an awful lot done with just our mobile devices. We can manage email, social networks, create and post content, work on documents, and myriad other daily tasks. It’s not all perfect yet (Google Docs still has a ways to go to be fully functional on a tablet, and I still can’t edit video), but it’s getting there.

I think the more time goes on, the more mobile devices are going to become the primary way that workshifters work. Anywhere, anytime computing is more of a reality now than it’s ever been, and I think this trend will probably continue. I am thrilled to be able to travel light when it comes to technology. After this trip, I’ve gained new confidence in my ability to truly work from anywhere.

How are you embracing the mobile era?

Photo Credit: bfishadow

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  • http://www.cc-chapman.com/ C.C. Chapman

    The only thing that still kills me about trying to do this is that for some STUPID reason mail on both devices do not allow you to attach things when sending. That has bitten me more then once.

    But, besides that it is certainly possible and doable. I try to do it whenever possible.

    • http://www.suzemuse.com/ Susan Murphy

      CC have you checked out GoodReader on your iPad? It lets you open up a wide variety of docs and email them. It’s not a perfect solution (it would be better if this functionality was built into email, I agree) but it does work. 

      • http://www.cc-chapman.com/ C.C. Chapman

        Yes, I love it. What I mean is I want to be able to ADD attachments to my emails

  • http://twitter.com/write4unj Nancy Passow

    I had been avoiding a laptop for years because they were big and heavy (the lightweight ones cost a fortune). Then, just over two years ago I got an Acer netbook, just in time for a trip to Japan. It was perfect for sending home photos and e-mails, including keeping up with  work issues. Eight months ago I added a smart phone to the mix (an Android phone). It’s definitely added to my ability to keep up with what needs to be done. Although I admire the tablets, I’m not in a rush to get one. As a writer, I really like having a keyboard (and getting a keyboard to attach to a tablet just makes it more like my netbook).

    • http://www.suzemuse.com/ Susan Murphy

      Nancy I agree if you already have a Netbook then getting a keyboard for a tablet would be redundant. That said, I love my iPad keyboard dock and use it all the time when out and about. 

  • http://www.willfranco.com/ Will Franco aka Flywheel

     I can do pretty well w/ just my G2 phone and an assistant on standby in-front of a computer. I am a PC guy, but recently tried the iPad and was very impressed. To me, the virtual assistant is the key to workshifting.

    • http://www.suzemuse.com/ Susan Murphy

      That’s something I’ve been considering too, Will. 

  • http://marvelous-reviews.com/ editing writing

    A iPad or smart phone is now common when we are going to make a journey. To find many information as like place distance, weather situation, food and culture and for others we use this technological elements.