This is the last in a series here: Working On The Road Trip
What Equipment I Need When Working On The Road
First… driving 2600 miles in 4 days with a 5th day for a break is NOT fun.
I’d rather drive 5 hours (or so) a day at the most. Travel is supposed to be fun not grueling.
That said… I still want to Work On The Road! Love that this business allows me to work from anywhere as long as conditions and equipment are right.
What equipment did I use and what do I need to upgrade or change:
Laptop (of course) – I have an HP Pavilion dv7-4080 us Entertainment Notebook
I purchased my “big momma” laptop this past summer and love it.
I was running into problems with hard drive space and the power to run several operations at one time.
I’m a multi-tasker when it comes to waiting for stuff to download or upload or just plain Load.
Plus… I really wanted to get away from Vista. It was okay… but Windows 7 just rocks!
The biggest problem I had was battery life. I finally figured out that I had my display settings to bright. If I went to battery saver mode.. I could still see just fine and the battery lasted much longer. At least 4 hours.
I know that other laptops suggest that they have over 7 hours of battery life… but this beast is almost too heavy for me to carry in an airport as it is.
Anyway… of course I’ve got an inverter thing… I’ve tried two of them. Neither one charged the laptop and once it ran out of battery… it left the building. Just did not have enough juice to keep it powered up.
Sherie asked a friend of hers how he keeps his “stuff” powered up and he has an inverter that is connected directly to the battery. We stopped at a few truck stops along the way… and I found one that does just that.
Right about the time I’m ready to buy this PowerDrive Power Inverter with USB Port and 2 AC Outlet my hubby pipes up and says he thinks we have one in the travel trailer – At Home! So instead of buying – I suffer. At least I know there is a solution.
The large screen (17″) is fantastic… and I tested several different laptops for the keyboard usability. Most of them have the keys too close together and I don’t have nearly as many mis-types with this one.
I do a ton of video and image editing on this laptop and it doesn’t slow it down. After 6 months I can now give this laptop a Thumbs Up!
I do talk about using this beast here –> Working On The Road
I did learn that typing on a laptop requires a very smooth road. I did a lot of typing and saving… and then editing later when we had landed somewhere “still”.
On The Road Desk – I take this Belkin CushTop Notebook Stand everywhere.
I’m often disappointed when I can’t fit it in a suitcase for airplane trips.
I end up buying one and leaving it where ever I fly to… eventually all my distant friends and family will have a Debra Laptop Pillow waiting for me.
My laptop does run hot… as most of them do. This keeps my legs happy and cool.
I don’t use this “just” for my laptop when I’m on the road.
I also need something to hold my notebooks while I write. This Desktop holds all my magazines and papers at just the right level.
I hold my cellphone on it while I’m checking emails. It does help to steady it a bit.
By the way… being able to keep up with emails from your cell phone (when your laptop decides it’s “done” ) is a wonderful thing… keeps me from getting tense.
I’ll talk a bit more about this cell phone and what new one I’m looking at (and why) in just a bit.
Internet Connection While Driving – I borrowed this Verizon Air Card – which didn’t work out that well. Let me go back in time a bit. I’ve borrowed a different air card (last summer on my trip to Nebraska)… and it worked perfectly. I did NOT use it on the road… so some of the glitches would have happened with either aircard.
The first problem – you never know when cell phone service is going to be available when you are driving. For most of the trip – I didn’t have huge issues. I did have a problem a few times when I was uploading video… I learned that I should wait until we have stopped for the day. 😐
Of course this will be a problem with any type of “on the road cell connection device” – so it’s really a matter of “where” you are.
The big issue I had with “this” Verizon card – I think – is the age. It didn’t matter how much we updated and cursed at it… it still messed with my computer and would take over some function that just made the entire laptop “Quit Working”. Now – you must remember – my husband works on computers all day. That’s his business. So – I figure we should be able to make the thing work… if it’s possible. This laptop is just too new and the aircard was just too old.
I also got a sweet note from Sherie about how expensive it is to use a Verizon air card vs. her new Droid.
I’ve been considering upgrading my phone to a Motorola DROID for this reason anyway. I mead… how cool is wireless internet over your cell phone when you are traveling?
But… because we run a service business our cell phones are a necessity where ever we are.
Even in Italy.
The Droid solves several problems.
Plus.. it has a quirty keyboard… that’s the thing that pulls out and looks like a miniature keyboard.
We both refuse to use a phone that is dependent on typing “only” on a screen. I’ve seen too many people with screens that don’t “work”.
For those of you that are going to recommend anything that requires A T & T service… don’t bother. We live in one of those area’s of the country that A T & T service is just about useless. They lie when they say they are “everywhere”. I’m just saying…
Oh… and the Droid has GPS (or Google Maps) which is important. We used my phone for GPS every day on this road trip!
We got lost in Phoenix… which is odd because we used to live in Phoenix – for years.
But Phoenix has grown and new expressways and freeways have popped up everywhere… we just didn’t know what connected with what.
It’s a comfort to have a device that can get you out of hot water. Especially when the driver will NOT ask for directions. 🙂
Motorola Bluetooth Portable Car Speaker for talking on a cell phone… it’s a must. You never know when you are going to hit a state that requires this.
I really (I mean really) don’t like the hands free things that hook to your ear. I think they look silly and please don’t let me catch you walking through a mall or standing in line talking to yourself (because that’s what it looks like). You Look Silly!
We didn’t even know this radio had Instant replay function to pause, rewind, and replay up to 60 minutes of live radio until this trip.
Yes… we’ve owned this model for 8 months… and still we don’t read the owners manual. 🙂
This is the Best Gift for anyone who doesn’t have a satellite radio already installed… my hubby and I have listened together… but it keeps him occupied while I’m working. Peace.
Yep – it has a jack for earphones… and you will usually see him with one plugged into his ear. He only drives with one… it’s dangerous (and probably illegal) to drive with both ears plugged in. Ha!
I have a large Canon SLR type camera and I don’t bother taking it with me on trips any longer.
I am a convenience type gal… grab the camera and snap a picture. I don’t want to be loaded down with anything heavy. This little guy fits in my purse or my husbands shirt pocket.
We have taken this Kodak EasyShare 10.2MP Digital Camera everywhere.
It has not failed us “ever”. We get great pictures and we both love the large screen on the back.
Yes – I have one of those handy little camcorders that works great.
But – I’ve been converted to the Flip. In fact last year I upgraded to the Flip UltraHD Video Camera.
I use it for a ton of different video opportunities… it’s a business thing. I love to add video whenever I can… and the Flip makes it so easy.
Point – Record – Upload to YouTube. Cant’ get any easier than that!
Never Leave Home Without These Items
Two more things I don’t travel without:
This is one of those great inventions that you don’t think you need until you “need” it.
I was in such a rush to get on the road one day – I forgot to brush my teeth. Yuck.
I yanked one of these Colgate Wisp mini-brush out of my bag of tricks and was good to go!
Seat Belt Shoulder Pad… you gals will know what I mean when I say… “seat belts can be a real pain in the neck”.
I can’t stand to have the edge of the seat belt digging into my neck!
Comfort is important… 🙂
Wheeewh… that’s a lot of “stuff”… tomorrow we will talk about what work I accomplished on the road.
p.s. The marketing lesson is still coming… you have to wait for it! Then look out for February! Brand new month and I’m going to be sharing some cold hard facts about working from home (or working on the road).