Doug Toppin's Blog

My thoughts on technology and other stuff

Personal Technology and Travel

We are on vacation (Prague, Vienna and Budapest) and I thought that I would include my observations on travelling with technology. We checked and were assured that we would have in room wifi access so we brought along our iPads and iPhones. On a previous trip to Barcelona we had expected wifi in the room, instead found ethernet and ended up buying a European power Apple Airport Express which worked well. Just to be safe we brought it along for this trip and again found ethernet in the room so it is once again working perfectly for our two iPads and two iPhones. I do recommend always bringing along a small footprint wireless router when you are travelling with an iPad just in case you need it. The iPad itself is the best piece of personal technology by far that I have ever used. I use it for email, browsing for city tips, maps, reading (Kindle and Economist apps), blogging, art (sketching), music, podcasts, technical training videos (on JBoss, free from iTunesU), photo storage and editing as well as other specific apps. While on this trip I have seen iPads on the airplane, train, hotel lobbies and most of the cafes (read Starbucks) that we have been to. It is much easier to travel with than a laptop and much more util than the same. From now on I would only bring along a laptop if I had a specific need for one. During this trip I have seen what I think was one Android tablet in a cafe as a contrast. On mobile technology I think that almost every business should be providing applications or at least browser specific support for the iPad. One note on that is that if you are providing an iPad/iPhone app do not assume that your customer has full time connectivity and instead provide the ability to install enough data to perform effectively while unconnected. For example, the iPad maps app is only able to work when connected. European cellular data rates are exorbitant ($20/mb) so I am only able to be connected when on my in room wifi. I believe that augmented reality (additional information about subjects of interest overlayed in the camera view) has the most potential in personal mobile technology in the future. Having the customer rely on a map vs looking through the camera view and getting directions to your establishment in a manner similar to the Google Street View would be one example of that. I think that there are many examples another of which is a furniture company that allows you to project what their funiture would look like in your room. Many other very innovative examples exist only being limited by the innovation of the employees and management of the company. More to come on this subjects in a future post. Same bat channel (dunno about the bat time).