I have the power….. (now anyway!)

I’m a professional nomad.

I neither work from home, nor from a specific office. I live from my rucksack – in fact, my Swiss Gear laptop job, thanks to the slimness of my laptop, is sufficient for me to travel for 4 days without anything else. OK, so the shirts get a little creased, but no more so than on the daily commute, and before anyone asks, there’s always daily clean underwear and shirts.

It’s not uncommon for me to go 12 hours in London between umpteen locations for meetings and never touch a desk. This poses a problem; modern electronic equipment, such as the branch of Dixons in my rucksack (two phones, iPad, laptop and a MiFi) seems to have gone full circle with battery life. The first Motorola mobile phones lasted for just a few minutes…… then Nokia in the late 90s appeared to have produced a hydrogen fuel cell by accident as the 6110 and its ilk would last for what seemed like years, even playing Snake constantly. And now, I am lucky to get 2-3 hours full use out of the Apple equipment and maybe 4 out of the laptop with the extended life battery.

If Shakespeare wrote Richard III today, I am sure the famous line would be “A socket, a socket, my Kingdom for a socket!”.

I know you can eek out more life by using more Wifi over 3G/4G, or disabling 3G/4G and relying on 2G/Edge and disabling push email/notifications and lowering screen brightness, clearing background apps and whatnot. That essentially, with each step, reduces the smartphone more and more back towards its Nokia 6110 ancestor and, for the professional nomad, makes life more and more difficult.

I’ve long known about portable battery backs, things to give a quick boost in charge to a phone; brilliant if you’re broken down at 3am on the side of the road, but an extra 20% wouldn’t cut it, not in the slightest. I then discovered there are packs out there that (in technical lingo 14000 miliamp Hours in capacity) can charge the devices that demands 10W/2A outlets, like the new iPads. Not only that, some can charge another device at the same time, albeit at the lower rated output used by older devices. In layman terms, 14,000 mAh is about 7 full iPhone 5 charges, or just short of one full iPad 4 charge.

This was a godsend of a revelation; not only could I do a full 12 hours out and about without a socket, I could do another day too. Best of all though, it gets over the fact that almost every Premier Inn in the country doesn’t have a socket by the bed, which is infuriating for the average smartphone user.

It also has an unintended side effect. Despite the model I chose being brickish and garish white, it attracts attention. On more than one occasion pretty ladies have inquired as to what it is at the bar; so it seems I have somehow lucked upon the modern day equivalent of a Gucci filofax!

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More good reads:

Disappointing news re mobile charger power consumption.

Published by Peter Farmer

Peter Farmer is the Commercial and Regulatory Manager at Gamma, writing here on Trefor.Net in a personal capacity. He sits with Tref on the Internet Telephony Service Providers' Association Council and is their Chair of the Regulatory Affairs Committee. Peter's experience covers consultation responses and disputes with Ofcom, lobbying government (UK and European) on telecommunications matters, litigations at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Despite all of that, and having three Masters degrees, his main job is actually being a Personal Assistant to his two cats.

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1 Comment

  1. Anker make a few that are very powerful battery rechargers. I got one the other day and it is great for trips to London without the stress of having to worry about running low. It has two outputs that means I can charge more than one device at a time. Essential road warrior kit.

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