Things I can’t travel without. (Part 2)

Following on from yesterdays post about my trip to Boston to see my new employer Teamstudio, I’ll continue to share with you the gadgets and gizmos I like to travel with to make my life easier.

#4 – Q-Tips or Cotton buds. Let’s just agree that hotel showers are a mixed bag and sometimes you get a pathetic dribble from the shower head or the temperature fluctuations are so bad that it’s positivity dangerous to take a shower for fear of getting scalded. Other times you may have struck gold and found a shower head that is clean of limescale and delivers and good strong shower at a temperature that is constant. Whatever you get Q-Tips/Cotton Buds are not just for cleaning out the shower water from your ears, and I’m not advocating that you insert anything into your ear canal. However I have used Q-Tips for that but also for other things on my travels too. Cleaning the recessed phone lens on my iPad or Android phone so that I can do a video call with someone. Or even cleaning up something that’s got in between the keys on my trusty MacBook Pro. Their uses are truly endless and I recommend you travel with some. I keep mine in a bankers bag as they seem to fit perfectly.

#5 – Personal Wifi access point. Most hotels around the world now provide wifi, the one I’m in right now does just that and it’s performing great, but there can be loads of contention on heavily used hotel wifi and if not set up right or they have used very cheap equipment then your experience is going to be very frustrating. Bring on the TP-Link TL-WR702N Wireless N Nano Router. This may be one of the smallest devices you ever buy that is worth it weight in gold many times over. But right now it’s less than £5.00 at Amazon UK. I have used this to plug into hotels where they still have a network cable data connection next to the phone and it’s been priceless. Here’s why this works so well. No one else is using the cabled connections any more so there is no contention. I’m probably the only one connecting direct to the switch and I’m getting 100Mb to my wifi router. That means it’s fast. Add to the fact this powerful little beast is smaller than a credit card (pictured with an AA battery) and it supports AP, Router, Bridge, Client and Repeater modes. In short you could buy a bunch of these and use them around your house to make your wifi coverage better.

#6 – iOS restore key. There have been a couple of times when I’ve been rendered dead in the water by my laptop failing. Luckily these days you can create a USB key version of the install files for your chosen OS. Google will help you find out how. If your hard disk ever fails, run along to Best Buy or anywhere that sells hard disks, slap a new one in your laptop and you can be connected back to the Internet to get all your stuff back in about an hour or two. Much better that than having a 5 day trip wasted by a dead hard drive or anything else that fails or corrupts. My choice for this task is my trusty SanDisk Cruzer Edge 8GB. Why 8GB? Because it’s about the size of a DVD, but now days I would probably do the 16GB version, as they are cheap enough. Don’t be tempted to buy one and try and put anything else onto it, just keep this one for the OS only. When you need it, you don’t want it not to work because you’ve managed to break the file system on it.
Note to Self : update the OS on your key, it’s out of date. ;o)

Don’t forget our competition to win one of the London Developer Co-Op conference survival tins on Friday.