>> Who needs an office? With a few gadgets and the right web service you can work from anywhere, the airport, coffee shop, even the back of a taxicab.
I'm Rafe Needlemen, the editor of Webware.com, and I travel way too much. So here are my tips for staying productive and not going insane while on the road.
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>> Let's start with the hardware. You need a laptop and you need a smart phone. Why both? Because there are times you want to sit down and work, and there are times you need to grab information on the go. Having both gives you the flexibility. I also recommend a Bluetooth headset for when you're talking on the phone and working on the laptop at the same time. But here's a tip. Talk softly. You don't want to get thrown out of your coffee shop because you're babbling like an idiot and disturbing people. This headset, the Jawbone, has noise cancellation so other people can hear you even if it's very noisy where you are. And I know this is a pain in the shoulder, but seriously, always carry your power adaptor. You never now when your flight's going to be delayed and you're going to have hours to kill. And nothing kills productivity like dead batteries. But where's the power? Here's a tip. Think like a janitor. There's gotta be a place to plug in a vacuum cleaner or a floor polisher somewhere. Fortunately, this hotel is designed for the business traveler, and there are power plugs everywhere. For frequent fliers, if you can get your company to spring for it or you have enough miles, get a membership in an airline club. It's a much better place to work than a general terminal, believe me. And they have power outlets galore. Now these days, when you want to connect, you can get WiFi in a lot of places, but you can't get it everywhere. And sometimes the day rates are very expensive. I recommend a cellular data card. EVDO, that's Verizon or Sprint. It's expensive. It's a hundred dollars for the card plus sixty dollars a month or more, but it can save your sanity when you really need to connect. Okay. You're connected. So what about software and services? I'm a big fan of using web-based services for working when you're on the go. If you store your work on Google Docs or do your email on Gmail, your work will be available to you anywhere you can connect. But since you can't always connect, you might want a way to make sure that your computer always has your latest data or that your data is always available to you from other computers if you don't happen to have your computer with you. Now, if you have one computer only, you need a way to back this data up. And there are services, like Titanize, the will take all the work on your laptop and put it on the web. So if you lose your computer, you can get it back. Or, if you don't have access to your own computer, you can access your information from any website, anywhere. It's very handy. If you use more than one computer, like a desktop and a laptop, take a serious look at synchronization software, like FolderShare or BeInSync. These products will keep files on your laptop synchronized with files elsewhere. Change a file in one place, and as soon as you connect, it's changed at the other. This way you can work offline, like on an airplane, and as soon as you land and reconnect, all your data is replicated between your computer and the network. It's great for workgroups and great for backups. And always carry one of these, a USB thumb drive. They're very useful for transferring files from your computer to another, like when you need to do a PowerPoint from somebody else's computer. You can't always rely on the Internet for access, but every computer has a USB port. Oh, and here's some final tips for travelers. There's a cool web service called TripIt. You email it the confirmations you get from airlines and hotels, and it builds a single trip itinerary that you can print out and jam into your pocket. And on your mobile phone, bookmark mobile.flightstats.com. It's a quick way to check on your flight information when you're running through the airport. So that's it for edition of insider secrets. I'm Rafe Needlemen, and I'll see you on the road.
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