Recently the family and I went to Hong Kong for a few days holiday. Besides the obvious tourist sites and shopping, there were a few technical requirements that needed to be covered off to ensure the business kept running and relatives new we were having fun!! . In no particular order, they were …
- Internet access in the hotel room
- Ability to put photos online at the end of each day for the family and friends to view
- Check voicemail on the mobile phones
- Access to particular computers at home for banking and other activities
- Voice communications with friends, family, customers and staff
- Email (rather obviously)
- GPS Mapping of the local area so we didn’t get lost
As it turned out, with a bit of planning, all these items were covered off nicely, lets get into it!
The EEEpc 1000HA is a great laptop and we took it along. Being light in weight and small is size made it the perfect traveling companion. It did the job well, allowing us to check emails and surf the web for information on the following days activities. Internet access was provided by the hotel using an Ethernet cable patched to our room.
This type of connection is pretty standard so I pre-purchased an Apple airport express (which is about the size of a packet of cigarettes). We plugged in the Internet cable which gave us secure wireless Internet throughout the hotel room, the convenience of using the laptop and or the iPhones anywhere within range was very handy!
I checked out a couple of online photo storage tools and settled on Google’s Picasa. Once the easy signup was completed, I was given a specially crafted email address which you could email photos to and they would appear on the private web page directly. The subject field of the email became the caption for the photo!
We had already tested the camera on the iPhone and for our amateur shots, it was fine. The shots were clear and bright and without needing to carry a separate camera, they definitely would do. At the end of each day we would come home and using the wireless Internet link, send off multiple emails to our Picasa address from the iPhone and the images were seen minutes later by everyone we had invited to view the page on the Picasa web site.
For the voice mail on the mobile phones, our provider (3) sends all our voicmails to web mail so setting up a pop3 account on the iPhone allowed us to get them delivered to the phone where we could listen to them without incurring international call charges. The second thing we did was to install skype on the iPhone and add some call credit. Again, using the wireless link, we called anyone we needed to for a fraction of the dollars we would have been charged using international roaming or the hotel phone.
We had decided against taking our everyday computers on holidays, if they were lost or stolen, restoring from backups just didnt seem worth it, not to mention the added weight. At the end of the day, the EEEpc did the job well but there are applications that are not on this machine that we might have needed to access. Using the LogMeIn application, and by leaving the computer attached to an active Internet connection back home, we were able to get to these machines whenever required as if we were sitting in front of them!
Email is email and we had Internet so there was no issue there.
My last technology problem was international mapping. I did not want to be carrying paper maps as I figured if I was armed with the iPhone, something had to be available to allow me to find my way. The app I settled on is called OMAPS which uses open street map to download maps of the area you choose and saves them for offline use. The impressive thing is it saves all zoom levels and doesn’t require an Internet connection once the initial download has occurred and you can drop pins along the way to mark special sites. This software gets a double thumbs up from me!
So, there you go. With an iPhone and an airport express and a little help from google, you and your friends can enjoy your holiday while keeping the business running all for a very reasonable cost!