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Technically Geeking: The Traveling Geek Show

a blogumn by Justin Time

My post is late this week. I know you have been waiting with bated breath for my steaming-hot tech ramblings. My timing is off because I have changed time zones traveling back east to visit the wife’s family. I figure this is a good time to give you some unsolicited tips on how to travel without losing your geek mind.


1. Bring your power adapter. No doy. But will you bring your wife’s too? I usually do, but this time I brought the wrong one. This is only partially my fault, however, because I did bring a BlackBerry plug, just not the NEW BlackBerry plug. So it is also RIM’s fault for changing to the mini-USB to a micro-USB or whatever it is called now. It can be more convenient to bring a wall plug with USB port, like the iPhone’s, and just bring a USB cable that fits your companion’s phone as well. May I also recommend a travel checklist, so that you don’t forget the USB cable (or bring the wrong one). One other handy gadget is an APC backup power pack to keep your gadget humming on those long flights.

2. Get online. If you are like me, the phone is not the greatest place to get work done, and you need to get your laptop some internet. Since tethering is not yet on the iPhone, I have to bring along a second phone that can share its cellular data connection with my laptop in a pinch. For me, this is a Samsung BlackJack with Bluetooth sharing to my MacBook Pro. No extra charges. A lot of people pay for wireless cards, which are a lot more convenient, but very costly. A lot of airlines are rolling out Wi-Fi on planes, which is just fantastic, but so far I have yet to be on such a plane. We flew Delta this trip, and they mentioned in their seat back material that they have Wi-Fi on 150 planes. They have over 1000 planes! WTF, D.

wildflowers013. Stay in the city. Yesterday, we drove 45 minutes outside of Atlanta to visit this “green” planned community, Serenbe. Kind of cool but creepy in an environmental Stepford way. It was cute, but we had a frustrating moment trying to take an important phone call while going in and out of weak coverage areas. I forgot what it was like to live without 3G. I guess global warming will just have to suck it up. It’s already hot as hell in Serenbe.

4. Get a good bag. Gear is essential to the geek on the road, and you need a good place to put all that stuff and not go nuts trying to fish it all out. I’m a big fan of Timbuktu bags, and this is the one that I bought a couple years ago. It has a nice built-in sleeve for the laptop, one large main compartment for books and stuff, and tons of little pockets inside for gadgets, memory cards, USB cables, antennae, dongles, sticks, or what have you. Also, it looks less business than the usual laptop bags, which means that I can pretend I’m young and hip instead of old and lame.

Feel free to comment on what you do to stay technically sane while traveling.