I usually travel pretty light anyway (an under 6Kg Samsonite rucksack that has room for clothes and equipment). This lasts me up to a week. With the netbook, the bag was certainly lighter, my MacBook is pretty heavy.
I like to listen to the BBC podcasts; I’m particularly addicted to “The Archers”. I spent time reformatting my iPod to Windows and downloaded the Banshee music player as that had good reviews. After a lot of messing about, I managed to get my music onto the iPod but I just could not get the podcasts to automatically load onto the ipod. I created a list and loaded the mp3’s separately.
I had previously made sure that e-mail (Evolution) worked and I noticed that you can select mail folders to be available off line. When you go back on line, they automatically synchronise. This seems pretty handy so I set this up and checked that it worked.
I also set up vpn access via the built in open VPN client. This all worked first time using ARM’s standard configurations. Once I’d moved my presentations over to OpenOffice, I was ready to go.
Day One “Airport”
At the airport I used my Mobile 3 broadband USB to connect to the web / world whilst we had breakfast. Evolution worked nicely and I was able to do some work e-mail. The table that we had was tiny, but the netbook fitted onto a corner. My MacBook certainly wouldn’t.
Luckily for me, I was flying to Ottawa on Air Canada and they supply even the economy seats with power sockets. This meant that the netbook’s miserable battery life was not a problem. I watched a film, listened to podcasts and did off-line e-mail. The sound amplification is pretty rubbish and not good on a noisy plane, even with noise canceling headphones.
I’d never been to Canada before and I found Ottawa a lovely city with great food.
Day Two “Free wi-fi and Meetings”
The hotel that we had in Ottawa has free wi-fi, so connecting with work, home and the internet was easy. By the way, am I the only one to notice that the cheaper the hotel, the less internet access costs? I updated my blog, did work e-mail and edited a presentation so that I could give it externally. This was not very easy on an 8" screen, but do-able. OpenOffice Presentation appears to support displaying the slide show on an external monitor. I'll thought that I’d give it a try.
We had a good meeting but I just couldn't get multiple screens with the presentation going to the projector working, so I had to stick to the old fashioned mirror screen approach. Still, it all worked nicely and early in the afternoon we headed for the airport to fly to San Diego via Detroit.
In Ottawa they have US customs at the airport, so you can do immigration before you set off. Despite not handing back my green visa card at the end of the last trip to the US, they let me in. Ottawa airport has free wifi, so I used that. I also found somewhere to plug the netbook in (the key is to look where the cleaners plug their equipment in).
The transfer in Detroit was easy. It's a huge airport but clean and organized. Unfortunately it had no free wifi and couldn't get my mobile broadband USB to work.
NorthWest airlines don’t have power sockets and so the netbook’s batteries last just long enough to watch an hour long program. By the time we got to the hotel in San Diego, we were both exhausted.
Day Four “Sort of figured out podcasts”
After a bit of playing I found out that podcasts are not filed under podcasts for the 3rd generation iPod Nano. There's a bug listed in the Ubuntu lists. Also figured out that I had to explicitly download the podcasts, not sure how to make that automatic.
I didn’t need to present today but there was free wi-fi and the little netbook was just fine.
Day Five “evolution”
I spent the morning in a meeting and several hours of the afternoon sorting out my email. Not helped by the wifi connection being dropped every 10 minutes (by the hotel's router). As vpn only supports UDP connections, I had to use Cisco's VPN client from su mode, so doubly painful. Evolution often loses its connection with the 'exchange backend' and to recover, I needed to kill all of the dangling evolution processes. Very irritating!
Day Six “more planes and airports”
We were up ridiculously early (3:30am) to catch the 6:10am flight from San Diego to San Jose and then onto a 9:30am meeting. The netbook disgraced itself by being unable to sync to a projector and display a presentation and so I had to ask one of my Lenovo toting colleagues to present my slides. After a very enjoyable lunch we went to the airport where I used mobile broadband (albeit slowly and expensively) whilst we waited to board the plane home.
It's too small for comfortable working (I’d prefer something much slimmer but with a 10” or 12” screen) but it does fit handily on the seat back table of even a small airplane. I was overall disappointed that the whole package was not quite trustworthy enough to depend on for business meetings. The software is very good, but needs refining.
For me, the battery life is unacceptable. I had forgotten having to find sockets in airports for fear of being left with a drained battery. For now, it’s back to the MacBook.
David Rusling, ARM Fellow, David was born a few weeks before Sputnik was launched. He's always liked mathematics, but America's space program together with 'Star Trek' made him think that computers were really interesting and so he graduated in 1982 with a degree in Computer Science. The future turns out to have less flashing lights than he expected. After hacking networking boxes for Digital Equipment Corporation, he got involved in the port of Linux to the Alpha processor. This gave him an abiding respect for the power of open source in general and Linux in particular. He worked on StrongARM before moving to ARM where he added tools experience. He's an ARM Fellow; which he says, "really means that I'm a techno-dweeb with a wide freedom to meddle." His official role is to set the technical direction for ARM's tools and software story.
1 Comments On This Entry
Please log in above to add a comment or register for an account
Fortune Brainstorm Green
on May 13 2013 10:58 AM
Moonshot - a shot in the ARM for the 21st century data center
on Apr 09 2013 01:22 PM
Bringing the Benefits of the Smartphone to Pay-TV
on Mar 14 2013 05:34 PM
2013 - A Lucky Year For All Smartphone Consumers
on Mar 13 2013 06:58 PM
Internet of You at Mobile World Congress with M2M, Sensors and LTE
on Mar 12 2013 02:44 PM