Business Trip – laptop – cell phone = success

This week I was in Las Vegas on business.  The screen on my Samsung Galaxy S stopped lighting up the night before, making it quite useless.  I also decided that my laptop was too heavy to drag all the way there for the limited amount of use it was going to get.  As a result they were both left at home.

Instead I decided to take my Motorola Xoom, the first Google Experience Device tablet.  The entire night before my mind was flooded with what if’s.  I was so nervous that something was going to come up where I would need to turn into a power user or get at some data either on my laptop or in my corporate network (which for the record are synchronized so really one and the same).  Being in Las Vegas we would obviously need to text each other to coordinate where to meet.  Here are the apps that allowed me to get by, largely due to the great quality free wifi.

  • Google Voice – This was a big one.  Not only was I able to send text messages to people but was also able to make phone calls from my tablet using GrooVe IP.  Text messages were instant and the voice quality was as good as a desk VoIP phone.
  • Evernote – I use this to take notes during conferences.  There isn’t anything sensitive so I’m not to worried about what goes on behind the doors of this public service.
  • VMware View – we have virtual desktops back in the office.  To run internal applications this is a great way to do it.  It would have been nicer with an external keyboard and mouse but to get in and run a few commands, totally acceptable.
  • Native email and calendar – I usually don’t use this tablet for work.  The native email and calendar apps in Jelly Bean are amazing compared to what was on my phone.  Creating and responding to emails was just as good as using Outlook.  As you type someones name in a new message it automatically does a GAL lookup and finds their email address.  The only issue I had with the calendar app was someone cancelled a meeting they had scheduled and there didn’t seem to be a way to remove from calendar like in Outlook.  Very much a minor, acceptable inconvenience since you could go into the calendar and manually delete it.
  • Cloudon – We had a Powerpoint deck that needed to be viewed properly and there was a chance in making a few edits.  This app runs full Powerpoint virtualized.  Again this would have been beautiful with an external keyboard an mouse had we needed to edit.  Turns out we didn’t though so just had full Powerpoint on the tablet.
It really was a great experience. A 4 pound laptop doesn’t sound like much.  When compared to a 1.5 pound device that pretty much gets the same thing done it makes a big difference.
On top of the convenience there was another unexpected benefit.  I’m not quite dorky enough to bring my tablet to Tao to party.  Going out at night without a cell phone was totally liberating.  It felt more like living in the moment.  Not being able to peek down at my phone every few minutes like everyone else kept me un-distracted with what was going on around me.

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