Saturday, November 29, 2008

Orlando Update

A week ago Friday, I returned home after spending a week down in Orlando, Florida to attend the Open Text Content World user conference. As you will recall from my post about getting ready for the trip, I wanted to travel as light as possible.

Dell Inspiron 910 (aka: mini 9)

To my surprise, the Dell mini 9 worked really well. I was able to get about 5-6 hours of battery life out of the unit. That number still isn't enough to get me through a full 10-12 hour day; however, it was as good as my heavier Dell Latitide D630 with a 9-cell battery. To get the best possible battery life, you need to be smart about what you are doing.

During the day, I would use the built-in Wi-Fi radio. To conserve battery power, I would turn the radio on and off as needed. The same is true for the screen brightness. While I was using the notebook in a workshop or presentation that had the lights dimmed, I would turn down the brightness on the screen. When I was meeting with someone or using the notebook in the lounge area, I would turn the screen brightness up to a level that was comfortable to read in a room with full lighting.

The weight was fantastic. The mini 9 weighs less than 2.5lbs and you will appreciate not having a throbbing shoulder after traversing two airports. The quilted slip case that I purchased for it is considered "TSA safe" meaning that you can keep the notebook in the slip case while it is run through the x-ray machine.

Being a corporate asset, my team and I converted the base install of Windows XP Home SP3 to Windows XP Professional SP2. I was able to run all of my required corporate applications without any trouble. Applications did seem to run a little bit slower than my full powered Latitude D630, however, I was willing to accept the trade off.

The only thing that I really wasn't crazy about on the mini 9 was the size of the keyboard. I was able to touch type on the keyboard. The main Qwerty keys on the mini 9 where big enough for my fingers. What I didn't like was the keys that surrond the main keys. For example, the shift, tab, and alt keys were about half as big as you would expect them to be. I was forever hitting the wrong keys. I also didn't like having some keys being what I call "tipple stacked." For example, the equals key shifts to the plus key which is normal. However on the Dell mini 9, the equals key also blue Fn shifts to get the back slash key. Being in IT, typing in Windows directory and network paths can be a real pain in the neck. Over time, this will be something that you will get used to.

Palm Treo 755p

My Treo 755p performed as I expected it to: beautifully. I purchased an extended life battery for my Treo and it was able to keep running all day. I have my Treo programmed to check my various email accounts at 30 minute intervals. The Treo did a great job of tackeling email, weather updates, and some light web surfing through out the day. I did use the World Clock application as my alarm clock. If you chose to use your Treo as your alarm clock, just make sure that you set the ringer switch from silent back to ring mode. During the day, I keep my Treo in silent mode and at night I switch it back to ring mode so I can hear the alarm when it is time to start the day.

Apple iPod touch (1st Generation)

The last bit of technology that I took with me was my 16GB iPod touch. The battery in my year old iPod held up well while I was using it in the airport for music and podcasts and on the plane for TV shows and movies. One thing that did trip me up was not doing a list minute review of the iPod before I left the house. As it turned out, I had forgot to select the new TV shows and movies that I loaded on my MacBook (which was saying home). The cost for this mistake was leaving home with only half of the TV shows and only one movie that I had planned to watch on this trip.

All in all, the technology that I took on the trip with me worked well. I'll be taking another trip down to Orlando in another two weeks. (I love the fact that confernces move south when the weather turns cold up in New England.) This time, I plan to make sure I have my iPod chuck full of content.
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