One Bag – Traveling light

My bag obsession continues a pace and I’ve picked up a Patagonia MLC. There’s a review of the MLC in action at Patagonia’s own blog, the cleanest lines here

I’ve been using the two bags of late and have been forced to check my luggage in more and more frequently. Having an understanding of six sigma and knowing that 99% success rate of bag delivery still means millions will go missing, has prompted me to change my travel solution.

I’ve been reading up on and getting some tips and I’m sure it’ll be a success. The MLC doesn’t get a great review on onebag but does get a mention which is good.

I’ve so far never lost or had a bag delayed while travelling, even when doing multi-hop trips, but I’m convinced it’s going to happen sooner rather than later. The other benefit is getting to the front of those taxi queues, Dublin and Copenhagen are both particularly bad, so a jump on the rest of the business travels can make a difference.

One day I’ll write up all the travel tips I’ve picked up..maybe I should start now…a tip I learnt in Dublin is if you are in a real rush, don’t go to the taxi queue at arrivals, drop down a level to departures and grab a cab off someone who’s just been dropped off. Frequently a driver will be happy to take the fare as it means they haven’t got to join a long queue back up at arrivals. Another tip, get the RER out to CDG, Paris taxi’s hate going out to CDG especially at rush hour, the RER costs 12 Euro’s, the Taxi can cost 70 Euro’s and be slower.

If you follow me on Dopplr, you’ll know my next trip is two nights down in Nice in the south of France, so I’ll be taking one bag and seeing how things go.

PS. my MLC is a more discreet and business-like black, but that green is nice.

Security Concerns for traveling employees.

I listened to some of Leo’s TWiT today, the show with Kevin Mitnick when he talked about his recent experiences at the US boarder.

The points I’ll discuss below, become pretty serious in terms of crossing any board and especially entering the US post 9/11, for employee’s with company issue laptops who frequently travel on business.

There were two points raised in the conversation on TWiT 163 that struck a chord with me, the first was that you can encrypt data on your PC an refuse to provide the password. This was in the context of material protected by NDA’s.

The second point was of material stored on your PC and the question you get asked "is this your machine?" and the ownership or responsibility of the material on the machine.

So in terms of NDA’s,  I have material protected by non-disclosure agreements on my machine and as discussed in the TWiT show, is that if I had to hand over my machine to a customs agent without protecting the data, I could be sued for not protecting the information under the NDA. I don’t think that the NDA’s I’ve signed have an out that I can disclose the information without the threat of legal action if asked by a customs or any other agent of the state.

So I think I need to check out what the NDA’s I’ve signed say and what the companies policy is in crossing boarders with that information on the hard drive.

With the second point, my concern here is that with a work laptop, you can’t 100% guarantee what is on your machine, you just can’t. Your machine sit’s on a corporate LAN, that could have files dropped onto your machine if your firewall isn’t on. Files could also be pushed to your machine from the IT department, not that they would of course, but what if someone wanted to do something malicious. There’s also the sync that some machines do with network drives for backups,  someone could have accidentally synced files to a network drive that you sync too and subsequently get transferred across to your machine without your knowledge.

All this means that you can’t be 100% sure what’s on your work laptop, you don’t own it and you can’t control it, so should you say, when asked that questions "is this machine yours?"  -  "no it’s a machine supplied to me by my employer and I do not have control over the all of the files on it due to my employers IT policy".

I think these are two questions that I need to check my my employer before I cross another boarder, what’s our position on disclosing NDA information to law enforcement agencies and the IT policy for protecting data and recommended response to the question of device ownership, the moral of the story is know your companies policy before traveling and after, having your machine confiscated for 90 days could hamper your productivity.

What’s your position, do you encrypt all the data, remove it from your hard drive and then put a copy in the cloud, how do you deal with crossing the boarder?


Nokia Open Labs

I’ve just finished packing for tomorrows trip to Finland and Nokia’s Open Labs event. We’re all staying in the same Hotel in Helsinki, which looks very nice indeed.

I’ve also finished packing my kit too, I’m taking my Asus Eeepc 900 as my blogging machine to keep the weight down, the N800 is coming too, as is my N95, E61i and the WoM E71 as well, I think that should cover all blogging needs.

I’ll be using my truphone number whilst out there, so I can witch between phones and still receive calls on the right handset.

I’ll be microblogging on Jaiku too and the odd twitter too I’m sure, so keep reading as I spend the next couple of days in Helsinki, Finland. First up is a 7.30am flight from Manchester to Helsinki..

Leaving on a jet plane…….back soon.


Finland for a 3 day Nokia Workshop.

Just like whatleydude, I too got the email from WOM World asking if I’d like to attend a brand new event for Nokia in Helsinki.

Here’s some of the email WOM sent me giving me an idea of what this brand new event involves;

It aims to involve everyone from creative’s, designers, video producers to open source software bloggers and mobile tech pioneers in a thorough discussion. Including, what the future holds for everything from mobile tech to media creation. There will be a number of workshops that’ll see discussion with participants and with Nokia guys about the future of different online arenas and mobile technology. Workshops that we hope you’d like to join in with and make yourself heard.

You’ll also be provided with a ‘trial pack’ that will include a Nokia device and other things for trial prior to and during the event.

I’ve only just noticed that we’re getting a new trial device which is great news, as I’ve been so looking forward to going and massively busy at work to spend too much blogging, I hadn’t read all of the email!

I’m hoping Truphone will let me have a beta product of theirs to use as well. So I’ll be taking some time to think of what kit to take so I can capture as much of the experience as possible, I do know I’ll be packing at least 3  Nokia devices and now that I’ve just noticed we’re getting a trial device, that’ll make it 4 Nokia devices.

I’m also really looking forward to meeting a bunch of the jaiku crowd too, as I’ve managed to miss all the MGoL’s, so really keen to actual put a real face to some of these manga faces for once.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to post on the working anywhere experience of Finland too, I’ve worked in Sweden,  Denmark,  France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland, Ireland and the US but never Finland.


Another great holiday at Compton Pool

I can safely blog our vacation now as we’re booked back in for next year, yep almost a year in advance.

The award winning Compton Pool was a spotless as ever and there’s a new reception building with a flat screen pulling data feeds on tide times and weather into a customer compton pool page, very nice. The only thing I hope they fix for next year is the wi-fi in the cottage we’re in, so that’s 12 months notice John, it worked great down at the reception building though.

The girls had the treat of feeding the pigs and goats their leftover apple stumps and crusts each morning followed by a quick spring on the trampoline before leaving for the beach. So if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Devon that’s a cut above the rest, look no further than Compton Pool.

There’s quality TV’s and Bose Hi-Fi’s in the cottages and I was able to hook up my N95 to the flat screen play some Editors through the TV’s speakers while the pictures we’d taken that day scrolled past in a slideshow, very pleasing.

Just as we left John had been selected as an extra in the new Tim Burton film, Alice in Wonderland that’s being filmed in Devon too…break a leg John!

Nokia N800 is fantastic in the car

We’ve just come back from vacation down in Devon and this year we decide to up the distance we’d drive to a good beach to about an hour. As a result we’d start the day pretty early and head off to the beach as soon as possible which usually meant around 9.30am-ish. This meant that we’d have a fair chunk of time each day stuck in the car driving backwards and forwards to the best beaches we could find. The first day we placed the intro game with the ipod and the FM transmitter, guess the artist and song as quickly as possible, 2 secs was my record btw. The second day I decided to drop the Nokia N800 into the storage box in the front of the car and leave it syncing rss feeds tethered to my N95 whilst we drove around in areas with coverage. There isn’t any mobile phone coverage at the cottages which is great so contact with the outside world was done whilst out and about except for wi-fi in the cottage and that’s another post.

Whilst driving we wondered what the weather was going to be like for the next few days, so my wife pulled out the N800, which was tethered to the N95 and looked up and checked out the weather. We then wondered where the exact location of the nearest farm shop was so it was googled and the postcode entered into the satnav. Over the next few days the N800 lived in the car and whenever we where driving for a while my wife would fire it up and either checkout the weather or check her email or just surf around to find bits of information. This was a bout of a revelation for us that you could have simple and reliable access to the Internet whilst travelling around in there car as the N800 is some much more friendly to use on the go so to speak than a laptop.


The N800 came into it’s own on Sunday as well, we left the St Pierre Hotel at 12noon heading back to my mum’s when my brother texted me the time and location of the pub were we’d agreed to met for sunday lunch. But he’d only entered pretty basic location information and having not lived in Cardiff for more than 10 years I couldn’t remember where it was, so once again, the N800 was pulled out of the arm rest and fired up as we drove down the hotel drive way. The pub was located and the postcode entered into the satnav before we’d reached the hotel gates.

From now on the N800 is the bit of kit that’s thrown into the front of the car on long car journey’s and I’m going to look into the Nokia FM transmitters too, and the N800 may become the web and entertainment device for long journeys.

Proporta bought me a drink!

My Proporta Mobile USB charger just turned up and in the package was an Earl Grey Tea Bag!

The device is pretty neat too, it used mini usb to charge, so I can carry just one mini usb cable around (the same one as used to connect the Phone to the PC) and I can use my CA-100 mini USB charge to connect my N95 to the Proporta device as well as using it to connect to my PC. So the only bit of extra kit I have to carry is the white unit itself, great.

Oh and thanks for the drink Proporta!

Proporta USB Mobile Device Charger


A Proporta Mobile Device Charger is now in the post on it’s way to me. I took Jonathan’s advice that it’s the best accessory ever. I did go and check out the Solar chargers but all the comments on them seem to indicate they were pretty poor, so I’ve decided to leave well alone for the time being.

My Green Nokia charger so far has been a bit hit and miss, it charges the E71 and the N800 no problem, but it won’t work with the N95 which is a bit of a downer.

Gadgets and kit for vacation

I mentioned in an earlier post that our vacation was fast approaching and that I was clearing off memory cards ready. I’ve made an effort to fit all the kit into one bag this year and make it easier on me to remember kit and transport it, it’s a Lowe pro Stealth Reporter camera bag.

I apologize for the ghostly photo above, it’s the glare off the cover, anyway, you can see the kit laid out ready to go.

1. LowePro Stealth reporter
2. Canon 400D DSLR
3. Canon 50mm 1.8 lens.
4. Letherman
5. Swiss Army credit card,
6. I-Go slim bluetooth keyboard,
7. Nokia N800 Internet Tablet.
8. Jawbone Bluetooth headset.
9. Nokia TV-out cable,
10, 8GB’s of CF memory cards.
11, space pen
12. Moleskine note pad (small) (under keyboard)
13. two spare Canon 400D batteries.

and what’s out of shot, or taking the shot, my trusty Nokia N95 (with 8GB card) and 2 spare batteries for it and a charger of course, along with my iPod (30GB) that’s in the special iPod dock in the glove box ready to roll. I’m key to try out a solar charger too, so will check them out prior to the trip and maybe pick one up, we’ll see.

What’s not going, is my laptop, so the pics of the CF cards will have to wait till we get back and be photo shopped before being uploaded. So that’s another what’s in my bag photo, this time it’s what’s in my bag for vacation. Sad thing is, we’re not going for another 2 weeks!

Wiping memory cards

Our vacation is fast approaching so it’s time to get the kit sorted out ready. I’m currently wiping all the CF memory cards for my Canon 400D, that’s 2 x 2GB and 1 x 4GB cards, which is plenty even shooting in RAW for me. We’ve got a wedding down in Cardiff straight after our vacation, so I’ll save one of the 2GB CF cards for that.

There’s one micro SD card that I’m not wiping, in fact I’m trying to cram as much onto as possible, I bought an 8GB micro SDHC card a while back for my N95. So I’m using double twist to strip out the DRM from my iTunes purchased tracks and convert them to MP3’s so I can drop onto the card.