Do you use in flight WiFi?

Back in April I finally made it on to a plane that had Gogo In-flight WiFi internet (reviewed it here). I loved it! It was fast and convenient. Although I certainly wouldn't call it cheap, I wouldn't say that it was way over priced either. However, the other day I saw this article on how people weren't using it (less than 10%) and more importantly the reasons why. From the comments I saw, the main 3 reasons were cost, "coach seats are just too small to work" and lastly "flight time is my time and I want to be disconnected." Some are even predicting that if the price doesn't go down or become FREE that in-flight WiFi will go the way of in-flight telephones (most have been removed due to lack of use). While I can see the point, I don't think that it's as bad as the in-flight phones were. They were outrageously expensive and really the only reason you would use one would be in an emergency. However, for me inflight WiFi is one of the few perks left of flying. I don't look at it as I want to be disconnected as much as I see it as the internet IS MY IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT. My price test is, would I pay for this out of my own pocket? While I do get reimbursed for my internet expenses, I would probably still pay for this out of my own pocket if the flight were long enough. So I guess I feel the price isn't as much of an issue as some do. So what your take on it? Do you use it? If so why or if not why not?

 

Traveling with Tech: Yeah, it’s stupid but don’t argue!

Traveling with the amount of gadgets that I do (cameras, video gear, computers, tablets, etc.), it's always a challenge going through airport security. Now keep in mind that I'm pretty security minded, but I also consider myself to be a somewhat logical person too. So what really cranks me is the inconsistency that is the TSA Airport Security Lane. For the TSA and Airport workers reading this, nothing personal. I know you're just doing your job. I also can't imagine the tremendous amount of pressure you're under to not let a security breach happen on your watch. With that said, I don't really have an issue with the rules as much as I do the inconsistency in which they are enforced. 

 

Take your laptop out of your bag

This one is pretty easy to understand. Your laptop has a lot of electronic components in it that need to be x-rayed. The reason they have you take it out is to make sure that nothing else is in the way of seeing through it. No problem. Luckily TSA approves bags like my new favorite laptop bag that allows you to keep your laptop in your bag (most of the time). I've had great success zipping through security with my laptop in this bag! I would say that I only have had to physically take it out once or twice in the US. Don't ask me why?

 

You can "probably" leave your iPad in your bag

I'll never forget reading an article like this one that stated that TSA says you can "probably" leave your iPad in your carryon luggage. I just laughed a little because I knew "probably" is how this whole thing works. The minute you leave it in, you'll be subject to a "bag check" (additional screening). So unless you have plenty of time to burn, don't gamble, don't argue, don't try to show them the article, just take it out and put it in a bin. 

 

What's a video camera these days?

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The Well Connected Hotel Room

Since I spend a good deal of my time traveling for business, I get to stay in a lot of different hotels all over the globe. Many times I have a choice in hotel properties and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I have to stay at a particular location for logistical reasons based on the event or meeting that I'm attending. However, when I have a choice in hotels I'll always remember the ones that met my "tech" needs first. It's a given that we want a clean, safe and quiet room when we're away from home. So that's where I would start the scale at zero. After that, for me it's all about the availability of connections in the room itself. Here's what I demand:

 

Nothing ticks me off more than not having enough power outlets

I'm still amazed that some of the most modern hotels in the world only have one or two available outlets in their guest rooms. At a minimum I want to be able to plug in my notebook and charge my phone SEPARATELY from my computer. So yes, that means an outlet with TWO available plugs. It's fine if you don't want to rewire your rooms, but for God's sake at least put in a power strip. Marriott Hotels typically do a good job of providing lamps in the room with power outlets built right into the base. More and more hotels are doing this as a way of making it so that you don't have to crawl around on the floor or worse, move furniture to plug something in. You should definitely be installing these outlets as soon as they are available. I'm also finding lots of hotel rooms these days that have iPhone/iPod dock compatible alarm clocks. It could care less about playing music through these (although it is nice at times), it's more important to me that they give me an easy base for charging. Of course this sucks if you don't have an iPhone. My travel power solutions are here.

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Multi-country Universal Power Strip

The more I travel internationally the more I realize that certain areas of the world haven't caught up to the "high tech business traveler" yet. I am painfully reminded of this in various hotels abroad. I know what you're thinking. No I'm not talking about Internet Connectivity. Actually for the most part 99% of the places I visit have in-room high speed internet (not always fast, but it's there). Actually I'm talking about a simpler problem. The problem of not enough outlets in the room! A couple of months ago I stayed at a Hilton in the UK and I was stunned that there was only ONE free outlet in the entire room. It was at the desk. So I had to pick and choose which devices to power/charge throughout the day/night. I kept thinking the whole time, "I really need a power strip." Actually I have a couple of mobile power strips by Kensington and Belkin that I love. However, they are for the US only. They have USB ports and plugging them in to a 240 volt outlet will FRY THEM (ask me how I know? 🙂 ) I could have gone to the local convenience store and probably picked up a power strip, but then the problem would be it would be for the UK styled plugs. What happens when I travel to a different location in Europe or elsewhere in the world and they have different plugs? So I resisted the temptation and just didn't buy anything. Well that was until recently.

On my last trip to India, I had a meeting with an Ad agency there and they had this very cool power strip in their conference room. It actually had multiple prong female adapters/plugs built-in to it. Also since it could handle the high voltage, you could plug it in in pretty much any country provided you had the proper prong adapter for the main cord. I knew right then and there this is what I needed, so I came back home and ordered this one. The only difference is that this one has a US styled plug on the end of the cord, which means I can use it here in the US without an adapter and when I travel abroad I can just put an adapter on it and use it in virtually any country that I may visit. This strip also cuts down on the number of adapters i need to carry. Since all of my gear has US styled plugs on them already, I only need to carry ONE adapter for each country/style to go on the end of the power strip that goes in the wall/outlet.

If you travel abroad frequently, you're going to want one. You can get it here for about $30

Here's the UK Style Adapter I use and here's the European style Adapter I use. Also here's the Universal Adapter I use when I'm not using the Power Strip. Lastly here is the Apple World Travel Adapter kit for all of your Apple devices/notebooks.

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