Holiday Kit

IMG_7205This holiday I took with me a lot less technology that I have previously. For the the first time in years I didn’t take a laptop at all and relied solely on my iPad Mini. One reason that I needed to take less was simply because of the miserly luggage allocation on the flight.

So I thought it would be useful to explore what worked and what didn’t.

Firstly here is the list of “tech” I took with me:

  • iPad mini
  • Kensington Ultrathin keyboard case
  • iPhone 4S
  • Slingshot
  • olloclip
  • Kindle
  • Bose Quietcomfort 2
  • Panasonic TZ5

The combination of the iPad Mini and the Ultrathin keyboard case has been a bit of a revelation. Having had a full sized iPad and Ultrathin case I was unsure how well the small form factor would work but it has been just fine. The keys seem to be a similar size but the spacing of the keys is much closer together to ensure it fits. All the blog posts I wrote on holiday and I wrote at least one a day, were done on this combination along with the WordPress iOS app without any issues whatsoever.

The only thing I did regret was not taking my Quiver Large Notebook pen holder with me as that fits perfectly over the iPad and case holding them snugly together otherwise one edge of the combination isn’t secured. Apart from that I couldn’t recommend them more highly. As a highly portable and usable writing tool they are second to none.

While the convenience of the iPhone means that I take a load of photos on it the quality is still beaten by a dedicated camera. I am now on my second Panasonic Lumix TZ5 and I like the quality of the pictures that it delivers along with the size and usability.

My normal workflow is to copy the photos from the camera to my iPad using a camera connection kit. Since moving to a lightning connector iPad I have baulked at the cost of the replacement which is now two separate cables and twice the price. Quite frankly this seems to be profiteering on the part of Apple to me and so I bought a cheap copy from eBay. This has worked faultlessly until I upgraded to iOS7 and now it  seems that Apple tell me that it wasn’t designed to work with my iPad and so may not work. It doesn’t.

I understand that lightening cables now have a chip in them which I am sure Apple would tell me was to ensure quality of accessories but it really feels like yet another way to keep the price of accessories high.

So there wasn’t a way to get my photos onto my iPad from my camera but I was able to transfer some from my iPhone via the excellent PhotoSync over Bluetooth. Why Bluetooth you ask? Well I was on a cruise ship where the price of wifi makes Apple accessories seem reasonably priced and so Bluetooth was the only option available.

It’s been a while since I haven’t had almost constant connection in one form or another either over wifi or a 3g connection on my phone. This meant a great deal of working offline and preparation of things that I wanted to upload ready for when I was connected again. Given the high price of wifi on the boat the only way to get connected was at a cafe once we had docked where for the price of a drink you could get free wifi. As you might expect we had mixed success with this approach. The first cafe we use in Crete was amazing, a fast connection and a great view. Other places were a flop with slow and dropped connections. Of course you don’t know that until you have parted with your money. However, it did mean that I could  regularly collect my email and update my blog posts.

The one negative was the number of different chargers that were required to keep everything alive and, of course, there is no standard for chargers so you end up taking a multitude of cables. Included in this were also the required cables for my Pebble watch and Fitbit flex. At times it was a struggle to find enough outlets to keep them all going – at least most are capable of being charged by USB.

Of course I suspect that my wife would prefer that I concentrated on my holiday rather than my gadgets!