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What Tech Do You Bring to Conferences?
July 26, 2011 - 9:15pm

What technology do you carry to conferences? I'm packing up for the ECAR Symposia this week in Chicago - finding myself somewhat disturbed at the number of gadgets in my bag.

Bag: I carry my tech in Mountain HardWear backpack. Laptop backpacks might look a little geeky, but this is a small price to pay for the comfort of dual shoulder straps. This is both my everyday around campus bag, and my travel computer carrier.

Computer: MacBook Pro 15 inch. 5.6 pounds. About a year old. Running 10.6.8 (not yet Lion, should I upgrade?). 4 Gigs of RAM.

This machine is too big for traveling, and feels too big to lug around campus. I'm really torn on pulling the trigger on a MacBook Air (which model?) or going the UltraBook route (with maybe a ChromeBook?) The one reason I'm hesitating with the MacBook Air is that it does not come with a built in cellular data plan, and I need to be able to get online when WiFi is not available. Advice?

Tablet: iPad 2. 1.33 Pounds. Some of you are leaving your laptops at home, and using your iPad's as your main conference computer. I have no idea how you pull this trick off. Without a keyboard, the iPad is a nice consumption device.

I thought about leaving the iPad 2 at home, but I find that it is more socially acceptable to read e-mail and go to Web pages during conferences sessions via the iPad vs. a laptop.

e-Reader: Kindle W-Fi. (8.5 ounces). Why did I bring the Kindle if I can read books on the iPad with the Kindle App? Truthfully, not sure. I find the iPad a bit too heavy for reading, but perhaps this is a reasonable trade-off for traveling. I do like the long batter life of the Kindle, and the built in light in the cover is great. I wish the Kindle was still lighter, and it seems like the Nook Simple gets the design right (doing away with the buttons).

Phone: iPhone 4 (4.8 ounces). Is there anyone out there who has replaced all conference travel tech with a smart phone? Is a smart phone and a tablet redundant, particularly for conference travel? I've been doing a bit of reading on my iPhone using the Kindle App, and it works pretty well. Battery life is bad. Looking forward to a phone as thin as the Touch and with a battery life as long as a Kindle.

MP3 Player: iPod Nano 4th Generation. (1.3 ounces). For audiobooks and music while running. This is the last small iPod (flash memory) with a click wheel. I'm worried about the screen only 5th generation, as I'm always pausing my audiobook when someone wants to chat. Any advice?

Almost 8 pounds of travel conference tech. So wrong. At least the number of chargers I need to bring has been reduced.

Your conference travel tech?



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