Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First Business Trip with the Instinct

It took only one trip to convince me. If you travel, especially on business, you need a smart phone.

As a backup, I did my standard business trip preparation, meaning mostly a file with copies of flight itineraries, rental car confirmation, hotel confirmation, and a string of Google maps to get me from Airport, to hotel, to meeting site, and back to airport.

For the first time, I also moved a PDF of that information over to the Instincts data card.

I also made sure I had the addresses of my way points (airport, hotel, meeting site etc.) in the GPS Navigator.

A last minute glitch showed the value even more of having a smart phone. The night before I left, I realized I couldn't drive my car to the airport--my teenage son was going to need it in my absence. Likewise, it was not easy for anyone to take me to the airport, so I figured out how to get there using a train into the city, and another mass transit to the airport from the city. Being able to access their respective web pages from the train to check on my next step was comforting.

I'd upgraded my memory card from 2 gig 8 gig for a whopping $14 investment. I'd setup several hours of tv programs recorded with my Media Center PC to the Instinct. That was my first time watching a full video on the phone, and it worked okay, except the volume could be better. Since I've been back, I've looked at ways of boosting the audio when I convert my videos over to the phone. More about that in a future post.

Flight time passed quickly watching videos. I need to think about a way of velcroing the phone to the seat ahead of me; holding it for the entire time was a pain.

Once in my rental car, I pulled up the hotel and started off to a place I'd never been before effortlessly. After checking in, I wanted a quick meal and then off to bed. The desk clerk told me there was a McDonald's a half mile away. However, the West Coast has Carl's Jr. I like their Bacon Western Cheeseburgers and can't get them on the East Coast (don't tell me Hardee's is the same--it isn't). I asked Live Search to find me a Carl's and it did, 3/4 a mile away and it guided me to hamburger nirvana.

That's the way the entire trip went. I used the notepad to keep track of receipts. When I was invited to a party, I used Live Search to find a florist and Hallmark store. The party had members of my wife's family in attendance, so I was able to take photos and send them straight to her so she could be there virtually.

If I didn't have to use my PC for demos, and to send longer emails, I could almost leave the laptop at home and travel with just the phone.

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