Traveling Light!

There was a time not so long ago that I would cart along a laptop and a Palm device, in my case a Tungsten T3, wherever I went, whether on the road or even to a local school.  If I was making a presentation I would bring an LCD projector, which as we all know back in the day was about the size of a Pullman suitcase.  Needless to say, the equipment I lugged around was bulky, weighty, and it was all somewhat inconvenient.  But it was necessary.  As time went by, though, everything got smaller, faster, and more powerful (and often cheaper).  So I’ve been able to shed much of what I previously carried.  But there is a bigger question.  What does a person really need to maintain optimal productivity and connectivity when outside the office?  One of my goals in life is to travel light (another one is that I don’t wait in lines if at all possible, but we’ll save that for another day).  It never ceases to amaze me what I see people cramming on board airplanes in the guise of “personal carry-ons.”  It just makes me more determined to stay connected, productive, and most of all, LEAN.  Anyway, all I carry these days are (1) a cell phone; and (2) a U3 4GB Cruzer.  No more laptops, no more LCDs, no more Palm devices.  The key that makes it all work is the Cruzer.  It is more than a flash drive on which you can store and transport files.  In fact, given online storage sites, even GMail as a good example, you hardly need thumb drives.  The beauty of Cruzer is that you can load your commonly used applications (for me, Firefox and OpenOffice are the main ones) and launch them directly from the Cruzer, a USB drive.  This allows much better security and utility when using a computer away from home or office.  And there is hardly a place anymore where you can’t find an online computer to use—that’s why I dropped the laptop.  Anywhere I present I call to make sure they have a decent projector setup but they all do these days … no more Pullman-size LCD gear.  The Palm device is basically redundant with cell phone features and web-based storage and applications.  So, my advice is:  Travel light!

3 Responses to “Traveling Light!”

  1. I stopped using my dell axim at around the same time i got my 2gb cruzer and discovered portable apps. Way to go! Just make sure you use some sync software to back it up on a home server regularly. 2 -4 gb is alot to lose.

  2. I have the exact same 4 Gb Cruzer…. and I periodically remind myself that the laptop before my current one had a 4 Gb hard drive on it (and that’s not THAT long ago!).

  3. I try to teach my students about portable apps and web-based applications, which mostly means Google Docs. Portable and web-based apps are especially important for students who are itinerant computer users and have no personal computers. I claim that these tools provide what school tech staffs should, but don’t.

    That said, I carry around a sub-four-pound laptop running Edubuntu almost all of the time. I sync it with the desktop in my office at the beginning and end of each session. I’m addicted to Emacs, and I have a hard time making Windows or MacOS do what I want them to. And I carry a Treo too.

    If I’m giving a presentation, however, I’ll generally use whatever computer is at hand and type in the URL for my presentation.

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