Sunday, 9 May 2010

Taking mobile office to the next level

We love travelling and we are always on the move, in the old days when laptop computer was hardly "portable", carrying it to a travel destination was a big hassle indeed, it was heavy, bulky and a liability as it was an expensive and delicate item. You didn't want to leave it in the hotel room, it was too big to be put in the safe in the room, and it was too heavy that you didn't want to carry it out when you were site seeing and ruin your leisure time.

As the size and weight of the laptop continue to shrink and at the same time, we are now taking pictures exclusively using digital camera, we appreciate the fact that we can backup and process our holiday photos the same night that they are taken, still fresh on our mind. But the problem of the size and weight of the computer remains. Small version of laptop computers are available but the price is prohibitive, that is until this year.

Budget computers are now so affordable, same price or cheaper than a good mobile phone, budget computers are highly functional and completely adequate for everyday use especially when travelling. They are light, small but still with a decent screen, long battery life as much as 6-7 hours on a standard battery, fit nicely in small back pack, and the tray in front of a airline passenger seat and any size of in-room safe provided by hotels. The connectivity to the internet is seamless.

Technology is not the only thing that has evolved, as a result of the technology advancement, our way of work has evolved too. We find ourselves increasingly communicating and exchanging information with people who are in remote locations, and we may never ever actually get to meet each other. We can take advantage of the internet to access and exchange information, arrange schedule, manage friends and business associates' presence and contacts. Take advantage of Voice over IP and society community technologies. Furthermore, with Web 2.0, we are now able to store files and use applications online and synchronized to computer for offline use, it is called cloud computing. Of course you all know that already.

These days, when travelling, Irene and I each bring a light weight budget laptop of convenient size that comes with international power adapter, and each laptop has 3 USB sockets for other peripherals (like USB standard size battery charger, memory card reader, USB drive) and can be used for recharging the batteries of our mobile phones even when the computer is not switched on. Each of us has a stereo bluetooth headsets with microphone that can be connected to the mobile phone and the computer at the same time, it is completely cable-less, we use it for voice communications or listening to music, language courses, or audio journals like The Economist. That's not all, we have recently gone a step further, we even bring a small size Wi-Fi encryption enabled router (HKD 150) with us whenever we travel and staying in hotels where usually only one fixed LAN internet connection is provided, we use this router to enable secure Wi-Fi access so we can share the internet connection using the two laptop computers and the 2 Wi-Fi enabled mobile phones.

As a result, our work and travel life have changed forever, for the better I hope! If these sound too futuristic to you, well, welcome to the future today. Actually, from time to time, I also wonder how quickly things have evolved and how fortunate that we are able to adapt and how things will continue to advance!

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