andE’s Corner: a day with my gadgets

I thought it might be interesting to write a typical day (and also hopefully hear from others how they are doing it) to show how gadgets have been integrated into my life. Or as is sometimes the case how I integrated into them. I think also it will be interesting to look back in 10 years and laugh at how basic it all was.

Warning: if you are not in the least bit a techie geek then stop reading now. There are better things you can do with your time….

So I guess the first gadget to come in use during the day (after my electric toothbrush) is my Sony Ericsson Walkman Phone which plays the soundtrack to my trip to work each morning. First of all I start with my dose of FM4 (the worlds best breakfast show: fm4.orf.at incase u want to stream it). Then as the underground moves underground (and so my SE loses radio connection) I switch to one of the albums on my 2GB memory stick (tech detail: I currently get the music onto the phone by taking out the memory stick and plugging it into my card reader and a little bit of copy & paste – I find this faster than using any official phone SW – but this is just my preference – I assume in the future my phone will pick the music for me based on my lastFM settings downloading the music overnight while I sleep).

While travelling I also pop on my eee pc and either

  1. mess around with some Linux / application configuration

  2. although this is now almost done now so now recently I have been doing a disaster recovery on-line training course – which I had to download in advance as I don’t have a HSDPA card on this box. Actually, I enjoy being off-line for a part of the day so this small inconvenience is actually a luxury.

  3. Or as today I am writing (off-line) my next blog entry. Which I will post when I get to work.

Once into work I hook up the eee pc to the company Intranet, 19” LCD, external keyboard & mouse (I think here a docking station would be useful) and post my blog, login to gtalk/yahoo messenger via pidgin and also usually boot up skype. In parallel I hook up my NSN PC (windows XP) to the Intranet and fire up the VPN client Corina to connect to the NSN Intranet, start outlook and let it start downloading the 60 or so emails sent already by NSN Jakarta who have had already half a day to formulate my latest todos 😉

While my laptop works it’s coffee time. So I actually hope that outlook’s download speed doesn’t improve ;-).

So now my eee pc basically works during the day as mini data communication client. In addition I will visit googlereader and at least open the interesting pages – leaving them open so that I can read them off-line on the way home.

Through the day I am pretty much glued to my windows laptop and of course the land line phone as well as both my Austrian SIM mobile and German SIM mobile for lots of calls and a couple of SMSs.

As I said before, the trip home is usually spent reading the articles I chose via googlereader (currently my selection of RSS feeds: BBC football, Financial Times, Techmeme, Bokardo Social Design and of course Dilbert). But also I will write bits of new blogs – its nice to have a brain dump before reaching the vocal torrent that is home with three females.

Once home (and having survived the vocal torrent) my eee pc connects automatically to my WLAN and it then turns into my sofa companion which is the big surprise for me: I decided when buying my eee pc NOT to take the most expensive but to take one of the early 7”/4GB SSD models to see how I would use it. And I am glad I did cos the missing thing that is most important to me is not processor power or bigger screen or even bigger keyboard but the simple matter of battery power and, like early UMTS phones (remember NEC606?!!), this problem is still not solved in the newer models. It would of course be great to have 1TB SSD but with a stack of SD cards I can workaround this. There is no workaround for battery unless you are near a power supply. And the power cable from my eee doesn’t quite stretch from the nearest plug to my sofa. The point is that the use case of a netbook is definitely different to a standard notebook/laptop. It is much more similar to mobile phone – especially the SSD based ones where I can literally just close it and stick in my bag without having to shutdown worried about damaging a flimsy hard-drive..

Once the kids are in bed I will then wrap up my work (via NSN PC over VPN over my home WLAN) and then my mini Linux PC takes over to show either downloaded (usually rapidshare) films / TV series via VLC player or the live English footie via a dodgy Russian web site and sopcast (I hope both of these improves over the next 10 years).

The weekend is similar but then the morning starts with streaming BBC Radio5 over the BBC iPlayer and listening to the build up to the weekend’s football plus a bit of news. My trusty wireless speakers are still working which means I can carry them all over the house / garden and so despite being in Austria have a weekend remarkably similar to how my Dad used to spend Saturdays (except even better as I can even skip to Radio Merseyside which after we left Liverpool he wasn’t able to do with his “Roberts” radio. ;-)): i.e. pottering around in the garden (favourite) or house (usually means repairing something I have done before not perfectly so not exactly rewarding) with a “football soundtrack”. If the radio gets boring then I’ll play some music – currently got about 35GB digitised.

I guess that’s almost all of the major use cases for my gadgets in a normal day. There are couple of others which happen on irregular basis:

  • DJing for which I now use my eee pc and 16GB SDHC card containing about 200 albums – a LOT easier than carrying two record cases. I use Amarok for this which with its fading function is better than I am at mixing – especially when I’ve had a few beers.

  • Updating the music collection on Luna’s Creative Zen or Tierra’s Zen Stone.

  • Looking at all of our digitised fotos via Picasa – so far they fit easily on my 2nd 16 GB SDHC card but this will not be the case for long. This is related to one of the downsides in buying a better digital camera:

    • you end up using it more

    • the fotos are bigger

Well, I guess that’s it. I suppose our kids will look back at this and be amazed that so many gadgets are involved. I assume that in the future my electrical toothbrush will also be able to take fotos, stream audio & video via hologram, (how come its already the 21st century and we STILL don’t have holograms@home??), have 1PB of storage and use LTE to connect anywhere to the internet. And will probably come from Apple – maybe I should patent the name iBrush….

And if you are as much of a tech geek as myself you can see my current configurations in my zoho documents:

eee pc: http://sheet.zoho.com/public/anderigs/eee-pc-usage

Linux server: http://public.sheet.zoho.com/public/anderigs/tux-opensuse11-usage

NSN PC: http://sheet.zoho.com/public/anderigs/copy-of-eee-pc-usage

And now just as I pasted in the zoho links I realise I am missing a whole chunk of my gadget integration: how am I mashing myself up into Web2.0… this will be the topic of a future blog…

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