Pages Navigation Menu

Promotional ideas and technique. Always radio, always positive.

Left to my own devices

`“J.D.P.”: Heading Home with the Suitcase', Omar García Obregón, 4 October 2008

My job requires me to travel a fair bit and in recent weeks I’ve spent as much time abroad as in the UK.

The good news is that every time I fly I get slightly better at packing. Fewer, lighter items, just enough clothing and fewer documents all mean that most trips now involve only hand luggage.

Believe me, you don’t want to be hanging round the baggage carousel in Lagos, Nigeria if you can possibly avoid it. Wait times there can be anything up to four hours.

It also means I’d know how to avoid RyanAir’s baggage fee if I hadn’t found a secret way to do that already. Here’s a clue: use another airline.

So clothes are licked but I’d welcome your ideas for a similarly reductive approach to packing electronic devices.

Gadget inspector

Let’s take a look at what devices and accessories I’ve been lugging around recently.

devices

1. Roland Edirol
Portable audio recorder. Most of the Earshot Creative Reviews are recorded on this. Adjustable audio input controls, optional AGC/limiter and LF cut. I greatly prefer its crisp bright sound quality to that from a Zoom H4 (and it’s smaller). Radio’s Jonathan Marks tells me the Sony is better still though.

2. Nokia N95
The off-duty phone. To avoid the distraction of business emails I’ll drop the SIM from the Blackberry into this elderly N95 8GB after work. It boasts a halfway-decent camera, runs Google Latitude and the telephone audio quality is super. An old friend.

3. Sony mp3 player
Given to judges of the Sony Radio Academy Awards, it’s a FM radio that plays mp3s and records direct from the radio. This is immensely useful for my work. Being Sony, it uses a proprietary connector and lead, 8.

4. iPod Touch
First edition device full of music and podcasts. Great for reading feeds, checking websites and updating this blog (cough). However, it’s sometimes a hassle getting logged into hotel wifi and its battery life is becoming poor.

5. Blackberry
The on-duty phone. Standard corporate issue. More locked down than Belmarsh. No apps, dreadful camera, tinny, scratchy-sounding phone but the best/only way to send and receive corporate email on the road and the battery lasts all day.

6. Earphones
Sennheiser in-ear type. Good noise exclusion so you can run them quietly and they’re rather comfy too.

7. Nokia charger
This is the smallest Nokia charger with the thinnest cable I could find.

9. iPod charger
Better than a USB lead because I will never want to sync to the corporate laptop.

10. World’s Shortest USB Lead™
Just enough. Never gets tangled.

11. Laptop
The smallest laptop my employer issues. It’s old and slow and runs a hobbled corporate version of Windows XP but is still my preferred device for writing. Inside is “all my work stuff”, sync’d off the servers so long days travelling can be opportunities to work on documents and generally sort things out. Its 7 hour battery life survives a flight to sub-Saharan Africa.

12. Laptop powerpack
Rather bulky really with a ridiculously chunky cable for the couple of Amps this draws.

All in all, it’s a bit much isn’t it. Everything gets used but I’d like to carry less. So, come on technology fans, what should I do?

Photo: Heading Home with the Suitcase by Dr John2005 on Flickr. Used under licence.

One Comment

  1. My hunch is that items 1-5 are your problem, as they generate 6-10. I’m down to just the N95 8GB, which I fill up with music and use a pair of skull candy headphones (which neatly double up as noise cancellers in the air, if you can get used to them being in your ears). The N95 runs Microsoft Activesync for work, and Nokia Mail for various GMail powered mail services. Using Bluetooth, it’s also the 3G modem for my laptop.

    I ditched my work laptop (Dell 610) for an asus eee 901, which weighs a kilo with a power supply slightly smaller and lighter than a pack of cigarettes. 6-7 hours battery life with the chunky battery. The eee also has copious amounts of music on it, which I use in preference to the N95 when in hotels or on-board.

    All that lot, plus passport and business cards goes in a little Tumi satchel- a “manbag” if you will.

    Don’t forget all reasonable scheduled airlines allow you one piece of hand luggage AND a small handheld bag. (No, not Ryanair, and neither Easyjet). All the clothes and fluids go in the rollerboard, and all the electronics go in the satchel. In a standard cabin locker, the satchel can still sit on top of the rollerboard, so I’m not stealing people’s space.

    With a bit of practice (and minimal use of hotel laundry) you can easily do a week away with handluggage. Because waiting at luggage belts is for losers.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Left to my own devices | Earshot -- Topsy.com - [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Stephen Martin, Stephen Martin. Stephen Martin said: gadget fans, please help with…