Business gadgets

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!


More good reads:

Disappointing news re mobile charger power consumption.

broken gear End User

Apple iPhone faults

An apple - grown in my back garden at homeWe have an excellent team in our logistics1 department. Phillipa has efficiently found me a temporary HTC One S whilst my trusty Galaxy S3 is sent back for a new screen. This time it wasn’t a fault of Samsung – the last two times were faulty headset socket and a faulty connector that meant the phone wasn’t charging, or at least only intermittently.

This time the phone was accidentally dropped on a hard floor and unfortunately the display smashed. Ok s*&t happens. It’s gone off to the menders for a week or so and in the meantime I have a temporary HTC One S.  The One S is ok but smaller than the Galaxy S3 so I keep hitting the wrong keys. It’s also not quite as high a spec but hey, I only have it for a week or so.

Setting up the One S was very simple, as for all Android phones though I note that with Samsung all the apps I have previously downloaded are re-installed on a new phone whereas this hasn’t happened with HTC. This is probably a Samsung service that might well be replicated by HTC but I clearly haven’t signed up for it.

Anyway when I handed the S3 in to Phillipa in logistics1

End User phones

Samsung Galaxy S3 factory reset – phone not charging battery

Samsung Galaxy S3 reset to factory settings for sending back to, you guessed it, the factory. Hasta la vista baby. I’ve given it 24 hours to fix itself but it is still only charging the battery when it feels like it. The symptoms are identical to those I had with the Galaxy S2 – PC doesn’t recognise USB device and can only see it intermittently.

The new phone is plugged in and charging. Rather than waiting for the full charge I’ve switched it on and it is set up to go whilst still charging. It started reloading the 98 apps at 09.51 and it finished at  10ish. It’s now doing a firmware upgrade. Not taking long.

There restore doesn’t go to the extent of organising the “desktop” or whatever the equivalent is in mobile terminology but it is still easy going.

It’s all very well having great software but there is no excuse for having unreliable hardware in this day and age, especially at the volumes that Samsung is shipping the S3.

Stay tuned…

End User olympics

No WiFi on train but power points more important

John and I are wending our way back from Cardiff to London in First Class with First Great Western. I like to teach my kids the right way to travel.

FGW doesn’t have WiFi like Eastcoast does but actually I’m finding that power is more important. 3G is good enough and having a fully charged phone for this afternoon’s Olympic kayak slaloms at Lee Valley is more important. I think 24 hours of battery life at flat out use needs to be the benchmark – 2 days for contingency. We aren’t there yet.

The lad is dozing whilst listening to some sounds on his phone. His copy of the Times newspaper made him nod off:)

I’m feeling a little rebellious. Last night we took a vuvuzela type horn into the GB v Uruguay match. It was on the list of prohibited items but if the Uruguayan supporters could take an entire drum kit into the ground it would have been entirely unfair to confiscate our modest source of atmosphere and excitement.

Today I am wearing my HP branded Commons and Lords Lions tour polo shirt and we have a Nike day bag. Totally against he rules laid down by the Locog heavIes. We also have a packed lunch which is apparently ok provided we don’t take too much – presumably in case we start selling food inside the venue. We could undercut the concessions and make a fortune, our only overheads being a modest Waitrose bill and the cost of the tickets. The latter has been covered by the mortgage so repayments will hardly be noticed over the 4 years between Olympic games.

I read somewhere yesterday that some politician (I can’t remember his name, which will obviously be a disappointment to the individual concerned) has said that the food prices are in line with other major events and that a family should be able to feed themselves for forty quid. That’s as may be but for most people forty pounds is a lot of dosh and I bet his family only consists of four people. Being a highly virile couple we have four kids which by my reckoning works out at sixty notes for lunch or roughly twelve pints of lager if you live in London as many readers of this blog do.

What a choice. Feed the kids or drink lots of lager. I suppose I could drink slightly fewer lagers and save some cash for a curry or a kebab afterwards (the hidden costs of a night out on the town). No no no only joking. Honest :).

Look out for me In the kayakIng crowd in my red HP polo shirt. Hasta la vista baby.

More later on my OlympIc holiday, from the WordPress dashboard of the Samsung Galaxy S3…

End User olympics

Millennium stadium postscript – 3G data performance & Galaxy S3 battery life

The mobile data service turned out great.I suspect if you weren’t on o2 it might have been a different story though I have no evidence of that.

The upload capacity did come under a bit of strain. It started at round 1.6 megs and dropped to 0.85 megs at half time but that is still good going.

I only really had 2 problems. One was with WordPress for android – it didn’t like the panoramic photo I included in the post.

The second was battery life. I hit the s3 hard with a lot of internet use and photographic activity. I was at the millennium stadium for two matches. By the second half of the second match the battery was running low so I switched off as I needed to make phone calls afterwards. This still wasn’t bed. After roughly 4 hours of pretty solid use I was down to 24% battery power remaining.

The catering at the ground was a different story – It was sIxquId for a sandwIch! My son queued for 45 minutes for a pizza only to find they had run out when he got to the front of the queue. This was during the first match! Whoever the caterer was I don’t have anything good to say about them.

It dIdn’t spoil the overall enjoyment of the evening which was a super family affair. The caterers could have taken a lesson from McDonald’s where I fed my son afterwards. It seemed as if the whole of the 70, 000 present at the ground went there. The queue went down quickly and it felt that those burgers were being served at speeds Usein Bolt would have been proud of 🙂

Posted using Samsung Galaxy S3.

End User mobile connectivity social networking

Zen and the art of battery conservation

I’m sat in a pub in Covent Garden in a race against time. I’m meeting Dr Sue Black at 4pm for a chat about stuff. She is, unfortunately, on a train stuck in the sidings at Wimbledon because someone is trying to commit suicide in Wimbledon station.

These things happen. V sad. The problem is that my phone is running low on juice as is Sue’s. I have the laptop but nowhere to plug it in. I could probably move to find somewhere to charge my phone (I only have a USB cable to attach it to the laptop) but I then run the risk that Sue’s phone battery will run out and she won’t know where I am. I don’t actually need the phone at my end as long as I have power left in the laptop because we are staying in touch using Twitter.

I have plenty of time. It is now 4.48 and my train is not until 7.06 (pm). I can plug both phone and laptop in on the train so I just need to husband resources until then. Also there are only so many glasses of mineral water a man can take…

Little glimpses of life in the early days of the mobile internet – real life drama lived out in Twittercolour on the www.