Take a Tech-Savvy Road Trip
The future is now! People have been saying that for a long time—at least since the fifties—but now it’s really true. All sorts of technological innovations that were once just material for science fiction are now day-to-day realities. Remember Dick Tracy’s super futuristic video-chat wristwatch? We could totally have that now. We just don’t like wearing watches on our wrists anymore. But smartphones do everything Tracy’s watch did and more. Have you heard of the remote-controlled, cyborg-insect surveillance drones? If cyborgs aren’t futuristic, I don’t know what is. One could even make the argument that we are easing into being cyborgs of a sort, since we are becoming dependent on technology for absolutely everything we do. Who needs science fiction anymore? Science fact is just as boundary pushing now.
MIT Museum: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Much of our gee-whiz technology can be traced back to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). So you can bet they have the coolest tech museum around. It was at MIT that research into artificial intelligence (AI) really got its start—in 1959. The school is still all about AI and robotics. Its largest laboratory is the one dedicated to AI. The exhibition Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence at MIT at the MIT Museum opens up the results of decades of research to the public and makes it understandable to them. You’ll get an inside view of the cutting edge of robotics and see that all those apocalyptic robot attack movies miss the mark. The robots at MIT are forces for good. There are robots that perform surgery (reducing the invasiveness of surgical procedures), robotic legs (giving amputees the opportunity to be mobile like never before), and robots that know how to obey social cues in order not to be culturally offensive.
The Tech Museum of Innovation: San Jose, California
Appropriately enough, the Tech Museum of Innovation is in California’s Silicon Valley, the region that gave birth to the personal computer—which is responsible for the character of our technological age. In the Tech Silicon Valley Innovation Gallery, visitors get to explore how the technological innovations of the Valley are reconceptualizing our world. We live in a world where fusion is more possible than ever before, and it’s largely because of the minds of the Valley. The program Reface typifies the inclination toward fusion in the Valley. This computer program allows you to fuse disparate images into one. Have you ever wanted to see what a kid who has your eyes and your significant other’s mouth might look like? Then give Reface a whirl. Do you want to make a musical composition without putting in the time it takes to learn a traditional instrument? Then give the program known as Reactable a try. Just by moving cubes into unique positions, you can collaboratively create a composition with anyone else using the program. This software allows non-musicians located anywhere in the world to socially connect through musical composition. You can make a new song as you make a new friend. Now that’s music to my ears!
When your tech-filled day is through, you’ll probably want to take it easy with your family away from the hustle and bustle—but not somewhere that you’ll be cut off from technology. That’s why Extended Stay Hotels is perfect. You get the comfiest of on-the-road retreats, plus free Wi-Fi.
A Recipe for a Tech-Savvy Vacation
How many digital devices do you take along when you head out to work in the morning? By now, many of us will have counted more than one, and certainly no one answered none. When we go on vacation, this need for digital connection increases. You need devices to make sure you’re entertained when travelling gets tedious and to make sure you can document your trip in whatever medium you choose.
Vacationing is a technological feat however you look at it. Without advanced technology, like cars and planes, we wouldn’t be able to travel further than a horse could carry us. Cutting-edge technology ensures that, besides getting where you want to go in a reasonable amount of time, you are also entertained for the whole trip. And when you arrive, you have all the technological capabilities of home.
We’ve all met with the dreaded “memory full” message while taking pictures with a digital camera. Never end up needing to delete photos again in order to free up space with the Eye-Fi Connect X-2 Memory Card. This SDHC card, which can store quite a lot of pictures (about 2000), connects to Wi-Fi and sends your valuable pictures to the photo storage device, program or cloud site (including Facebook) of your choice. It’s like having a wafer-sized personal assistant with you.
I know I’m not the only one who misses beach parties with boom boxes. That little iPhone speaker just doesn’t cut it. You need something with real muscle. That’s where the Jawbone Jambox comes in. It’s small. It’s light. But it’s still undeniably a super-stylish boom box. It comes in a variety of colors and grill designs to suit your personality and your unique style.
The kids aren’t satisfied with singing songs and playing punch buggy during vacation drives anymore. They’re used to the constant entertainment of home. With the handy iPad Motomount, you just connect an iPad to the back of your vehicle’s seat, and ka-zam, the kids are entertained. And when they’re having a good time, you’re having a stress-free time. The iPad also stays still when the car meets with turbulence.
Your car’s cigarette lighter supplies DC power, and your electronic devices want AC power. There’s a handy-dandy solution to this problem: the Coffee Cup Power Inverter. This device, both stylish and utilitarian, fits firmly in standard coffee-cup holders. It looks just like a to-go coffee cup, yet it is actually a device supplying much-needed AC power to you through two outlets and a USB jack. Your devices need energy as much as you do. Get the Coffee Cup Power Inverter so that they can get their “caffeine” fix, too.
If you’ve got your kids in the backseat watching a movie (one they’ve likely seen many, many times before), you may not want to listen to the sound. A solution to this allows all the kids to listen to sound from the same movie on headphones using the Belkin Rockstar Multi-Headphone Splitter. With this useful little device, five separate sets of headphones can listen to the same audio source.
After a day of tech-savvy vacation, you’ll want to kick back at a comfy, tech-friendly hotel—one with free Wi-Fi, so you can send those photos you took with your X-2 memory card to your storage device or the cloud. Extended Stay Hotels have everything you need to satisfy your tech needs and your family’s needs.
Modern Travel Devices for the Modern World
We live in a tech world. The future is now! All those science fiction movies our parents and grandparents watched were about our present. Leaving your house without your digital devices is pretty much unthinkable. You would certainly never dream of going travelling without your gadgets. You absolutely need them for work and fun in the modern world. But it really is quite a big hassle taking your home tech gear on the road with you. It can make you feel like a touring rock band or carnival, toting all that bulky gear. Unless you have roadies or carnies to carry your stuff for you, it’s a wise move to have separate home and travel tech gear—stable, workhorse gear for the home and sleek, portable gear for the road.
First off, you need a case to put your tablet computer and other small digital devices and power cords in when you’re on the road. You don’t want this stuff taking up space in your suitcases and getting lost in them. The Grid-It Wrap is the perfect solution. Its grid of elastic bands holds tightly onto all your small devices and power chords, and its neoprene pocket holds your tablet computer as snugly as a kangaroo holds its baby. Because the Grid-It Wrap is an open field of elastic bands layered over one another, you can arrange your devices however you like. There are no pre-determined slots here telling you how to organize your life. This Grid-It is 100% personalizeable. It’s 100% you. This sleek and efficient tool can be slipped into your laptop case when it is loaded up. Then all your tech gear is in the same place.
Does your laptop always run out of juice on long flights? Then you’re forced to watch VH1 Classic for two hours. Well... I guess that’s really not that bad. But if you’ve got work to do, it’s very frustrating not to be able to do it with all that free time on your hands. The solution to this problem is Apple’s MagSafe Airline Adapter. Apple’s air- travel adapter plugs into the power outlets that many airlines have on their seats. And since this is the MagSafe power adapter that many of us have come to know and love, you don’t have to worry about clumsy people knocking your computer to the floor on their way to the bathroom. The chord, with its magnetic tip, will release if tugged on hard enough. The Airline Adapter does not charge your laptop’s battery, but it will keep it running during your flight so you can work (or watch YouTube videos of kittens).
Have you ever found yourself sitting in a charming café on a beautiful day? It’s the perfect situation to get work done. Coffee and sunshine do magic for motivation. Then you discover, to your utter dismay, that the café has no Wi-Fi? The solution really is to carry your own WiFi hotspot with you. And why not look hot while you do it? How can you look hot and be a hotspot at once? With Brookstone’s WiFi/2GB USB Cufflinks. The sort of thing that Q would give to James Bond, these silver cufflinks contain 2GB Flash drives (for your espionage, of course) and come with software that will enable your computer to connect to its very own hotspot when one of the cufflinks is plugged into a USB port.
After a day of travelling around in the modern world, you’re probably just going to want some good old-fashioned relaxation. Extended Stay Hotels offers you just that, without sacrificing modern technological conveniences—like free Wi-Fi.
The Microsoft Surface: Should We Believe the Hype?
From GPS to iPhones and other technological conveniences, Road Warriors everywhere benefit from these nifty gadgets. The latest shot fired in the tablet-computer wars is the Microsoft Surface—Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s iPad.
The questions beg to be asked: Can the surface make more than a surface wound in the massive iPad market share? Will history repeat itself? Will Microsoft again dominate Apple (and the world) with a system based on one that Apple developed? I am, of course, referring to the Windows PCs’ (which used a graphical user interface, very-much based on Apple’s Macintosh and Lisa operating systems) domination of Apple computers in the 90s.
Hewlett-Packard, one of the super-powerful makers of PCs that dominated Apple in the 90s, and Research in Motion, maker of the popular Blackberry smartphone, have both tried to take on the iPad juggernaut, and both have failed to make more than a dent in its market share. So will Microsoft fare any better?
Microsoft has a mixed record when it comes to introducing its own hardware. The Xbox was a smash hit and is now the world’s best-selling personal-gaming console—by no means, an easy accomplishment. When Microsoft released the Xbox in 2001 (which was its first foray into the personal-gaming-system market), it was entering a market with already entrenched, dominant players—Nintendo, Sega and Sony. So Microsoft has experience gaining dominance in a market already solidly dominated by other firms.
However, its attempt, in 2006, to launch a pocket-size mp3 player to compete with the iPod, the Zune, was a smash flop. So Microsoft also has experience (very recent experience) being dominated by an established firm—and that firm just happens to be Apple.
International Data Corporation has forecast that the iPad will account for 62.5% of the tablet-computer sales this year, which is up four percentage points from last year. What does the Surface have in its arsenal to slow down the Apple steamroller, which is just gaining more and more momentum? Well, unfortunately, we really don’t know what kind of heat the Surface is packing. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer tried to replicate the excitement of an Apple product release at Milk Studios in Los Angeles on June 8th.
While an Apple product release tends to pull back the curtain and let us collectively drool over the product’s creative capabilities, the release of the Surface was all surface. Many of the substantial details about the product were left out.
First, we don’t known when we’ll be able to lay our hands on a Surface. Ballmer did not give all the loyal PC-users a release date to circle on their Windows calendars. We have been told that the cheaper, more portable, but less powerful model, the Windows RT Surface, is going to be released three months before the more powerful Windows 8 Pro Surface. But when will that be? Maybe by the back-to-school season? Maybe by the Christmas season? No one knows for sure.
Second, we do not know the technical specs of the Surface. While we were told that the consumer-model Surface will have an ARM processor at its core, and the more professional model will be powered by a 3rd generation Intel processor, we do not know which ARP processor and which Intel processor Microsoft is talking about.
Five Years from Now: What Our Technological Future Will Be
Just five years ago, the technology landscape was quite a bit different than it is today: The now-ubiquitous iPhone had just been unveiled. There was no iPad, no Google Docs; and MySpace was at the top of the Internet social-networking heap. With everything moving so fast, what new technology—improving our businesses, travel abilities and lives overall—will we be using in just five years?
As Apple has been at the vanguard of developments in personal-computing technology and style in the last thirty years, what we are all dying to know is what Apple will do in the next five years. But Apple, probably the most secretive of the technology companies, is not in the prognostication business. So we have to turn, for predictions, to the wizened granddaddy of the Silicon Valley technology companies: IBM. In late 2011, Big Blue made five grand predictions of life-changing leaps in technology that will take place over the next five years.
- “I Sing the Body Electric” will no longer be just a poetic phrase.
IBM predicts that five years from now, the dynamic energy created by the physical activities that we undertake will be harnessed by devices and transformed into electricity to power homes, offices, vehicles and even whole towns and cities. Your steps on your morning run, your pedals on your bicycle commute to work, your son’s annoying booms and bams on his drum kit—all of these movements create energy—energy that we only use once. This energy can be recycled, just as physical resources like bottles and cans are, and used again. IBM predicts that in five years, we will not need solar panels in order to give back to the grid.
- Passwords will become truly individual.
Isn’t it annoying having to remember ten different passwords (at least) for all your separate accounts? We do it without thinking about what a hassle it is—just like we used to memorize many phone numbers and rewind VHS tapes without being bothered by the extra work. Luckily for us, the folks at IBM (and at other tech companies, no doubt) have been working on eliminating this nuisance.
IBM predicts that in the next five years, we will log into our e-mail, social-networking and bank accounts biometrically—that is, computer systems will recognize us and allow us access to our accounts based on our individual physiologies (the way our faces look, our eyes look, our voices sound, etc.).
- The elimination of technology poverty will help end actual poverty.
Because, IBM says, smartphones and tablet computers with access to the Internet through satellite networks will become broadly and affordably available to all the world’s people, rich and poor, over the next five years, healthcare will improve, and people’s ability to get their products to markets, remote and near, will improve.
People in isolated rural areas will be aware when the travelling doctor is coming to town, and they will no longer have to waste time waiting for her arrival day after day. People who produce products that have no market in their local village but that would sell quite well in wealthier parts of the world will be able to make arrangements to get microloans to fund production of their products and arrange to have them shipped to remote locations via their smartphones and tablets.
- Junk mail will be thrown on the junk heap of history.
We are already getting personalized advertisements on some web pages we view based on our browsing histories. IBM predicts this will carry over into the sphere of e-mail. We will no longer get spam—strictly speaking. We still may be annoyed by the amount of advertising that lands in our inbox, but the advertising will be for items we have expressed interest in.
Improvements in our technological future will greatly benefit our businesses, our economy, our ability to travel more efficiently and our lives in general. Technologically, we’ve travelled far, but we have even more exciting destinations in our future.
To Buy or Not to Buy: Is the New PlayStation Vita Worth the Hype?
PlayStation has been a busy beaver in recent months, and with the recent release of its new PS Vita, markets around the US and Europe have finally gotten a chance to play with the new “revolutionary” handheld gaming console. This new gaming console is supposed to revolutionize the way that gamers play, especially while they travel across the country. If you are considering investing in a portable gaming option, then this might be the new toy for you.
The Advantages of the PlayStation Vita
The Japanese gaming markets made it apparent that this new console is preferable to the PlayStation 3, and it has even sold three times more than its larger, stationary counterpart. It still is still yet to be determined whether the PS Vita is going to outsell the Nintendo 3DS or the PSP, which have been selling very well in past months.
So what’s the big deal with the PlayStation Vita, and why should you invest in it? Why would this be considered the end-all for gamers to enjoy while they travel and while they enjoy their free time at home?
- All the Extras
Firstly, it will boast dual analog sticks. Add that on top of motion sensors and front and rear cameras, and you will not be lacking any element of the gaming and social media. Even social gaming is easier with various forums for individuals to chat about games and to form groups for team play. There are also apps for gamers to download to make the system even better.
- Advanced Internet Capabilities
Some critics are calling the Vita an “almost smartphone” for its handiness. For example, you can have 3G coverage added to your Vita that would give you Internet access wherever you go. In addition, the Vita also allows you to see who of your friends are playing nearby you through the GPS, and it allows you to find the cheat codes you need on the browser. The only thing this product can’t do is allow users to make phone calls, but you can console yourself with a movie from Netflix, if you so choose.
- A Variety of Games and Purchase Options
Sony also brought along some of the top franchises in the gaming industry to make the purchase even better. For example, you can play Marvel vs. Capcom 3, or you can also enjoy FIFA soccer. A bonus about this new gaming system is that you can either purchase your new games for Vita through a retail store or through the online store on Vita.
- Bigger and Better
It’s nice to have a gaming system that is handy and portable, but it is also nice to have a clear screen. If your son or daughter is using this gaming system while on the road, he or she will want to be able to see things clearly. That’s where the five-inch screen in the middle of the console comes in. Be aware: the Vita is not a small device; it weighs over half a pound. In addition, the system stands at 3.2 inches, and it boasts a 7.2-inch width.
This is definitely an impressive toy, and if you are considering purchasing one, you might want to spend a few hours fiddling with it until it’s mastered.
The Best of the Best: Wired’s Top App choices
Wired magazine has been the online go-to guide for technology lovers and Internet addicts alike, especially when there are new electronics and gadgets coming out. Now, the team at Wired has reviewed 400 apps for iPhones and Androids alike for their App Guide, and they have selected a few of their favorites and must-haves. Some are useful for everyday life, while some are for sheer entertainment. Regardless of what purpose they serve, these apps are worth the few dollars you spend on them.
Wired covered hundreds of apps, and we have picked a few of our favorites to show you. To read the rest, check out Wired.com’s app catalog.
Top Social Apps
1. Foursquare – Free
If you are unfamiliar with this app, then you’ve been missing out on other people’s opinions of the world around you. Meant to help you track where you go on a regular basis, Foursquare can also introduce you to new restaurants, new clubs and new businesses in your near proximity. People can create lists of their favorite things to do, and you can access them to see what you want to do as well. People also leave tips for newbies.
2. imo Instant Messenger – Free
There are a lot of social chat websites available for phones and tablets. However, imo offers not just messaging services, but it also offers group chats, voice IMs and video and photo sharing. Unlike other messenger services, users can easily choose which messenger accounts to have on and off at any given time with the simple push of a button.
Top Lifestyle Apps
1. Grocery iQ – Free
This is ideal for individuals who are constantly forgetting their grocery lists. Users can search for their favorite brands of foods from the database, and they can also select their favorite grocery stores and products for the app to remember. If you’re out of something at home, use the smartphone to scan the barcode, and the app will add the product to your list. This app can even be so fine-tuned that you can narrow down the aisles that products are found in.
2. My Tracks – Free
This Android app is for those looking to keep track of their exercise progress. Using Google Doc and Google Maps, hikers, runners and walkers can track their routes as they progress, or they can save it for later to compare with other trips. Purchase an external strap, and you can even add heart rate monitoring to the app’s abilities.
1. Flipboard – Free
This is ideal for those who constantly find themselves in between tasks with idle time on their hands. Flipboard prides itself on being a “pocket-sized social magazine,” and has all the mainstream magazines you want to read available at the touch of your fingertips. You can also find your favorite blogs and websites on here so that you can jump easily from medium to medium. Of course, you want to still keep on top of what your friends are doing, so be sure to check out the Facebook and Twitter feeds on the app as well.
2. StreamToMe – $3
This app is one that is worth every penny paid for it and more. Made for Mac users with an affinity for music, this app converts various file formats and allows you to live-transcode and then stream the content onto your iPhone or iPad. This means that the old videos you couldn’t play before are suddenly Mac product friendly. It will feel just like having the content copied onto your mobile device.
Let It Snow and Hail: New Phone Apps That Allow for Winter Fun and Safety
The weather outside is indeed frightful in the wintery months, especially in areas of the country where the winter storms can leave you stranded, but with the perks of having a smartphone loaded with holiday and weather apps, you don’t have to worry about life being anything but delightful. As you travel this winter season, make sure that your smartphone is loaded up with apps that will make your travels safe and fun.
Winter Survival Kit App
For those who are traveling to vacations spots in the snow, part of your winter survival kit should also be the winter survival kit app, which was recently developed by the North Dakota State University Extension Service. The app, which works for both Android and Apple phones, helps stranded drivers notify family and friends if you’ve been stuck in the snow, calls 911 and even helps motorists know how long they can keep the engine running to keep the cab warm before carbon monoxide poisoning becomes a problem.
The Winter Survival Kit smart phone app is free for users, and might just be the tool that can save your life if you need help when trapped in the snow.
Ski and Snow Report
For those who are itching to go snowboarding or play in fresh snow, this is the free app for you. This particular app is meant to give you the latest snow conditions and ski opportunities near you, which will let you be able to plan snowboarding weekend trips in a moment’s notice. Ski boarders and snow bunnies alike can also look at the snow and ski conditions of their favorite out-of-the-area slopes and snow destinations, and they can keep tabs on the latest snow news there as well. This is perfect for the last minute getaway travelers, looking for an excuse to leave the area on a three-day weekend.
For those who like to plan road trips to new snow spots across the country, First Tracks might be the choice for you. This app is more likely to work for your desktop or for your tablet, as it is an Adobe Air product created by Hatchling. Find everything from directions to the new ski destination you are visiting to the forecast for the whole weekend on this app. Another addition that this product affords snow seekers is frequent updates on what mountainsides are open for snow sports and which are closed due to poor weather conditions. This might save you hours of travel only to be disappointed in the end.
For detailed maps of snowboarding and skiing slopes, this is the ideal app. The freshest snow is documented through this app, which costs smartphone users $2.99. This is perfect for those who are looking for a nice interface while they check out the weather of the area they are heading to. Seven-day and 48-hour snowfall forecasts are also displayed through this app, and you will be able to see the amount of lifts and trails that are open in any given area. New snow reports and visibility are also clearly indicated, so you never have to worry about the weather forcing you to hole up for the season.
Top Tips for Buying the Perfect Gifts for on-the-go Travelers
Having a techie in the family is both a blessing and a curse. You’ll always have someone to go to when your computer is acting up, and someone to help explain what steps to take when trying to sync your phone’s music to your laptop’s playlists. On the downside, it’s almost impossible to buy them the perfect gift for any occasion, as they tend to buy their favorite items as soon as they come out. This leaves you wondering what technology to buy someone special and leaving you grasping at straws if you don’t know what gadgets and toys are popular.
If you’re looking for something for an anniversary, a birthday or a holiday, it’s best to begin your purchasing by reading up on what’s available, setting a budget for purchases, and reading up on what other travel techies are writing about online. Travel techies are in a league of their own, and knowing what the tools and equipment that they enjoy using are will greatly help you in your search for the perfect gift.
1. Set a budget for yourself.
If your spouse, child or relative needs the “best” gadgets for traveling, you need to know how much each item costs and where you can purchase them for less. There are many online technology review websites dedicated to helping individuals find the right priced tools and equipment they want to purchase, and they can actually help people on a budget find what they can afford in a certain category of technology.
2. Look on the manufacturer’s website for ideas.
Perhaps you want to purchase your traveler a nice gift, but you cannot find exactly what they are looking for online. When this happens, go to the manufacturer’s website and see if they have equipment that is comparable to what your techie is looking for. For example, if you are looking for the best noise-cancelling headphones for your son, who likes to listen to music while traveling, go to the company that manufactures the headphones he likes and see what is available. You may be able to find better headphones than the one he wants at a better price.
3. Ask for a wish list.
Travelers have wish lists of what they want, just like anyone else. All you have to do is ask what your traveler is interested in purchasing. This might take a little of the surprise out of purchasing a special gift for someone, but at least you’ll know that what you purchased is exactly what he or she wanted. If you don’t want to ask your loved one specifically what he or she wants, go online to see other techie gift wish lists.
4. If all else fails, go with gift cards.
If you want to be certain that your gift is going to be perfect for your loved one, go with a gift card. This allows your techie traveler to find the tablet that is ideal for traveling that he or she has had his or her eye on. If anything, this will allow you to save time on what to purchase them, and the traveler can opt to save up the gift card and use it towards a more expensive item that he or she would not be able to purchase otherwise.
Tablet Gadgets: Getting More Out of Your Tablet
Even if you’ve already joined the legions of tablet fans, you may have only uncovered a fraction of how useful these little machines can be. With the accessories now available, many users are finding that their tablets can replace many of their other devices, especially during travel, when packing light really calls for a less-is-more approach. By selecting just a few of the small add-ons for your iPad, Galaxy Tab or other similar device, you, too, may find that you can have all the networking, entertainment, composing and presentation capabilities you need, courtesy of your tablet.
One of the major complaints many people have about tablets—at least in relation to extensive use—is how touchy the touchscreens can be. If you can’t hit the right angle, have bigger fingertips or lack just the right degree of pressure, you can find yourself inadvertently closing pages, typing an entire sentence incorrectly or (maybe even more frustrating) not getting anything to happen at all. Here’s where a stylus can save you hours of aggravation. The Targus Touch-Screen Stylus (about $17) is compatible with most tablets (and other touch-screen devices). Its rubber tip is sturdy, but it will not scratch the screen as you turn pages, type or draw. Targus’ deluxe model, the 3-in-1 Stylus ($40), gives you a touch-screen stylus with a ballpoint pen and a laser pointer (with low and bright settings)—all in one compact and classy design.
Even with a great stylus, most of us prefer a real keyboard for doing extensive composing. Fortunately, the most popular tablets do offer add-on keyboards—all running in the $60-$100 range. One of the best Bluetooth wireless (and relatively universal) keyboards is the Scosche freeKEY. Marketed as flexible (it actually rolls up!) and waterproof, it may be a traveler’s dream with it’s advertised battery life of sixty hours before recharging is needed (retractable charging cable is included).
If you’d like a keyboard that doubles as another accessory, check out Samsung’s soft-touch, full-sized keyboard dock for the seven-inch Galaxy Tab, which lets you charge your tablet while using it. The built-in headphone jack in the dock can also come in handy if you’re trying to work during a layover in a busy (and loud) airport. Another two-fer is the Adonit Writer for the iPads. This Bluetooth keyboard is fashioned as part of a protective carrying case for the iPad, and it also folds to provide an angled prop, secured by magnets, for the tablet itself as you use the keyboard. The lightweight (1.1 pounds) keyboard and case still leaves you with all the carrying convenience of a tablet.
Okay, maybe an MP3 player isn’t that much extra to carry along, but hey, when the goal is to simplify, why not fully outfit your tablet as your sole music and entertainment device? With the number of earbuds, headphones and speakers out now, it’s pretty easy. You can choose among brand-specific models and universals, as well as a wide variety of the quality levels (and prices). For the Motorola Xoom alone, choices range from $15 earbuds to Monster Lil Jamz High Peformance Headphones ($100). As you might expect, iPad’s options run pricier, from about $40 to upwards of $400. If you want something that’ll work for your iPhone and your Android tablet—and something good for your budget in case you lose it—the GE 98974 Voip Stereo Headset (around $15) gets solid reviews.
While a tablet may not fully replace your laptop or iPod (after all, how handy is a tablet while you’re jogging?), perhaps during business trips and vacations you can equip that one mighty little machine to efficiently and compactly serve your needs, and give you one less device to schlep along and keep track of on the road.