Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mobile Lessons Today

I'm not at work. Nor am I at home watching the Presidential Inauguration. I'm in a jury pool performing my civic duty as a citizen (we just heard about a 90-day case).

I decided to leave my Macbook at home in favor of my XO (OLPC laptop) that I got in 2007's G1G1 program.  What did I learn about mobility, power management, wireless Internet, and true computing on the go?
  • Battery power, despite my best effort at power conservation (dimming, turning off features I don't need) is great but it doesn't lengthen time as much as I hope. 
  • Battery technology needs more advances such as those Apple will be employing in their new 17" Macbook Pro.  If not the battery chemistry, creativities and innovations in battery deployment is needed.
  • 3G  isn't necessary unless you absolutely have to have fast mobile Internet because it'll hinder your mobility if you are away from a power source and will have to rely on it.
  • EDGE is good enough for audio streaming.  After my iPod Touch ran me through what I needed to see via the new Ustream app,which worked beautifully, I wanted to give it a rest I can conserve what battery life's left for music and games in the afternoon.  So, I turnedto my G1 for updates and analysis on the Obama Inaugural Speech.
  • As good as the iPod Touch and iPhone's battery are under Wi-Fi access, tax it with video streaming and you can forget about the 6 hours of battery life Apple indicated.  I had hoped to write stories and blogs, listen to music, and play games for much of the day.  I've likely got only 30% of battery life left.
  • A laptop is a good source of power in an emergency if you have to charge your devices.  I've mentioned this in the past but I'm saying it again here.  Right now, there are tons of Macbooks and other laptops in the jury room and not an outlet available. I don't know how long I'll be here and I don't want wires dangling so I decided to charge the G1 a bit.  
  • For writing or blogging, just about any device will work.  The XO, which I updated the OS last night, is handling Web 2.0 stuff quite well.  I post to a novel site with my amuteurish gibberish quite aquately on the iPod and G1 but the XO with its full-featured browser beats both.  Particulary, the ability to add links, edit styles (like bullets), and more easily to switch between windows and tabs.
At the end of the day, I still rather have what I've had access to than not. The building offer Wi-Fi access and for that alone, I really appreciate it.  In fact, I was impressed the network's ability to take  the load without a hiccup with just about everyone who has a laptop streaming video for their fellow jurors.  

Note:  I like numbers and statistics.  In the jury room, I see folks from alll walks of life.  Lots of mobile warriors.  I'm seeing a lot of iPhones, a few Blackberries, and my one G1.  Most others still use regular phones.  A third of us has some kind of mobile device(s).  Those who's got it out are either texting or playing games.

Quite a few laptops as I've mentioned above.  It's funny. All the Macbooks seem to congregate in one area and the rest of the laptops everywhere else.  I think about 5% of us have a mobile computer.  I've got the only XO.

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