Size does matter: travelling light with netbook and iPhone

I love technology more as it gets smaller. I haven’t been travelling much this year, but the next two months will change that. For the first time in years, however, I’ll be carrying only my suitcase (a roll-aboard that fits in the overhead bin) and my handbag: no computer bag. That’s because I am the proud owner of an HP Mini netbook, which slides right into the back compartment of my smallish purse with room to spare. The screen is a bit small, but adequate – in fact for widescreen video viewing, it’s great – and the keyboard is large enough for comfortable touch typing. Battery life is 6 hours, which rocks. Disk is 160GB, leaving space for me to load it up with e-books and video to entertain me while away from home.

It runs XP, and I’ve loaded the following software:

  • Chrome as my primary browser – much cleaner and takes up less screen real estate, so good for the smaller screen.
  • Google mail/calendar with offline synchronization, since my email accounts are all Gmail or Google Apps; this means that my mail and calendar will stay synchronized between this computer, my office computer (which uses Outlook and Google Apps Sync), my iPhone and the web.
  • It has a trial version of MS-Office included, but I’ve also loaded Open Office and will see if that works for the relatively light editing needs that I’ll have on the road. If so, then I won’t bother to buy the license for Office when the trial expires.
  • Live Writer for blogging, since I do a lot of that while at conferences.
  • Dropbox for synchronizing working files to the web for backup, and back to my home machine (use this link to sign up for Dropbox if you’re interested, and we’ll both get an extra 250MB storage).
  • Tweetdeck for Twittering.
  • Flickr Uploader for uploading photos.
  • iTunes, since it’s required in order to use my iPhone for USB cable-based internet tethering.

I’ve been using the netbook instead of my usual computer off and on for the past two weeks, and I’m quite convinced that I’ll be fine for days at a time with this on the road. I’m missing my financial software and a whole raft of utilities, but nothing that I can’t do without for a while.

I also finally broke down and bought an iPhone 3GS, so if you saw me earlier in the year with my iPod Touch and a Nokia flip phone, those two gadgets have now been replaced by one: more room in my purse. There will probably be some short trips where I can make do with just the iPhone, and leave the netbook at home, since it has everything on there, including Dropbox to access documents. It’s not a great blogging platform, however; as a former Blackberry addict, I can authoritatively state that the iPhone keyboard sucks for any large amount of typing.

With my new technology in tow, I leave on Friday for Germany to attend BPM2009 in Ulm next week – watch for the live blogging from there – then spend another week having a bit of a vacation in locations yet to be determined, but likely a couple of days in Zurich and a trip through western Germany back up to Dusseldorf for my flight home. [For those of you who think giving this sort of information provides an opportunity for someone to break into my home and steal all my worldly belongings, rest assured that I leave behind my black belt hubby – and I don’t mean a Six Sigma black belt – and a pretty mean cat.]

2 thoughts on “Size does matter: travelling light with netbook and iPhone

  1. Great article. I travel a lot and try to keep things light as possible. My iPhone has become so useful. I also switched to Nomadesk for backup because it is very secure and I can share and access all my files from the aforementioned iPhone.

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